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2021 Alaska Recreational Beach Monitoring Begins

  • For immediate release  — June 1, 2021
  • Contact: Laura Eldred, Division of Water, 907-376-1855

Juneau, AK — The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has started bacteria monitoring at selected Alaska beaches for the summer season. Water quality samples will be collected at recreational beaches in Ketchikan, Hoonah, and Kenai.

The Beach Program is a statewide program which tests bacteria levels in marine water samples from May to September. The program evaluates potential health risks as indicated by fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria and notifies the public when levels exceed state standards. Past years of bacteria monitoring have shown elevated levels of bacteria along the Ketchikan and Kenai coastlines from several potential sources, including seagulls and other wildlife, humans, and dogs. This will be the first summer of monitoring Hoonah beaches.

Visit for:

  • up-to-date information on beach monitoring, which beaches have elevated bacteria levels, and sample collection dates
  • advisories for beaches where test results show bacteria levels exceed guidelines
  • interactive maps showing beach monitoring locations
  • a link where you can sign up to receive emailed beach updates
  • historical beach testing data

If advisories are issued for beaches where test results show bacteria levels exceed guidelines, they will also be posted on DEC’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

There are many ways we can all help keep Alaska’s beaches clean and Alaskans healthy. Check out the DEC beach website for what you can do to help.

The DEC BEACH Program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease the incidence of water-borne illnesses at public beaches under the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act. This project has been funded in part by the United States EPA.

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