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Project: Beach Watch

Background and Objective

Traditionally, beach water quality data collected by coastal county health departments in California has been separate and incomparable. In an effort to minimize differences between these datasets and allow for data consistency in meeting AB411 requirements, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) enlisted SCCWRP’s assistance in creating a standardized data transfer system. From 1999 to 2001, SCCWRP designed and implemented a database system designed to make data transfer from California county health agencies to the SWRCB simple and consistent.

The goal of this project is for SCCWRP to provide continued support to coastal California health departments to ensure beach water quality data is made available to the SWRCB.


This is an ongoing project.


SCCWRP created a Microsoft Access database which includes data entry and export functionality for submission into the SWRCB Beach Watch system. Each database was customized and installed at all coastal county health departments reporting AB411 data to the SWRCB. In addition, SCCWRP surveyed all beach water quality sites, recorded their GPS locations, and photographed each station from a number of different perspectives. Once this information was incorporated into the database, users were able to enter lab and advisory data and view the data real-time within a simple map interface. In addition, special features were included in the database system to allow for simple data analysis and reporting. Its successful use in southern California led to implementation throughout the rest of the state in 2006.


In 2010, SCCWRP constructed a new website that allows the counties to upload and view their data, and began managing this statewide Beach Watch data repository system for the SWRCB. Though the website is not publicly accessible, Beach Watch data is transmitted to the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN), which sponsors public data access through the CEDEN website and California Water Monitoring Council's My Water Quality website. SCCWRP will continue to provide database maintenance and data upload assistance, as well as assisting with unique requests, such as creating specialized data reports.


This project is being conducted in collaboration with the following agencies:

• California State Water Resources Control Board
• County of Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services
• County of Mendocino Environmental Health
• County of Sonoma Department of Health Services
• County of Marin Department of Health Services
• County of Contra Costa Environmental Health
• Alameda County Environmental Health
• County of San Francisco Department of Public Health
• East Bay Regional Parks District
• San Mateo County Health System
• County of Santa Cruz Environmental Health Services
• County of Monterey Environmental Health Bureau
• San Luis Obispo County Public Health Services
• County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department
• County of Ventura Environmental Health
• County of Los Angeles Public Health Environmental Health
• City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Environmental Health
• Orange County Health Care Agency
• County of San Diego Environmental Health
• Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9


Turning Beach Watch data into information - January 2012 presentation to SCCWRP member agencies on software development to support Beach Watch.
For more information on Beach Watch, contact Larry Cooper at (714) 755-3229.
This page was last updated on: 7/18/2014