Thanks to the Indy’s reporting last week, we now know Heal the Bay doesn’t go to the beach. Heal the Bay simply compiles reports from Orange County Public Works, which ignores that Aliso Creek is federally listed as an impaired water body for enterococci, Escherichia coli, fecal coliform, phosphorus and toxicity. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board agrees.
Hitting the surf zone, oxygen rich water, ultraviolet sunlight and saltwater usually kills off most human bacteria surviving in creek runoff.
And it’s not just us. California grey whales, coastal dolphins and other protected cetaceans must travel through the Laguna PooBelt during migration or when foraging for seafood. Recent surveys by Professor Lei Lani Steele has mapped clusters of cetacean’s in Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas intersecting with contaminated plumes from Aliso Creek’s urban runoff.
Fortunately, the city’s Environmental & Sustainability Committee has embarked on a project to collect map overlays from scientific groups and government agencies. For instance, with Southern California Coastal Water Research Project in Costa Mesa, maps can now identify the Aliso Creek urban runoff plume, floating as a warm contaminated slick over the colder, denser ocean water. The Bight ’13 Rocky Reef Report illustrates the Aliso Creek plume migrating as far as Main Beach and Emerald Bay and southward beyond Three Arch Bay. Paraphrasing Bob Marley, “When it rains, it don’t rain on one man’s house.” Likewise, when contaminated inland urban runoff is discharged onto Aliso Beach we are all in the plume. Yet Aliso Beach retains an “A” grade from Heal the Bay’s well-funded green-washing campaign.
While Heal the Bay acknowledges they do not go to the beach, if they did, they would avoid Aliso Beach as do most informed locals trusting common sense over nonsense from the “Heal the Bay Beach Report.” Hopefully the city will conduct their own tests to see what contaminates really are in the Aliso Creek “Lagoon” to keep us posted going into the summer as to the actual condition of ocean water quality.
Mike Beanan, Laguna Beach
The author is a member of the City’s Environmental & Sustainability Committee.