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Three More Beach Health Advisories, This Time on Southern Oregon Coast

Published 06/28/2019 at 4:53 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three More Beach Health Advisories, This Time on Southern Oregon Coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – Three more Oregon coast beach spots are now under health advisories due to higher-than-normal fecal bacteria. This time, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued alerts to stay out of the ocean water at Hubbard Creek Beach near Port Orford in Curry County, Harris Beach near Brookings and Sunset Bay State Park near Charleston.

This now brings the total to five beaches listed as unhealthy to wade in: Newport’s Agate Beach and Seal Rock State Park (about ten miles south of town) were declared under advisories on June 26. Those are on the central coast, while the recent three are all on the southern Oregon coast.

While these advisories typically end a day or two after being declared, none of these have yet been rescinded.

Eugene TV station KVAL Channel 13 is reporting Sunset Bay has more closures than other beaches during any given year.

Testing of ocean water and runoff is done regularly on many beaches in Oregon, and again these advisories were issued because of higher-than-normal levels of bacteria. This can cause a variety of health issues if you are exposed, including rashes, diarrhea, stomach cramps and upper respiratory illnesses, among others.

Although the advisories at Seal Rock, Sunset Bay, Harris Beach, Hubbard Creek and at Agate Beach keep you out of ocean water, OHA also suggests staying out of nearby streams or pools of water. Whatever the advisory status, you should always stay out of oddly-colored pools of water or streams.

“Even if there is no advisory in effect, officials recommend avoiding swimming in the ocean within 48 hours after a rainstorm,” OHA said.

The exact sources of the fecal matter are usually not known. This kind of waste can come from wildlife, stormwater runoff, failing septic systems, sewers or livestock farther inland. A heavy presence of gulls in an area can also cause this because of their droppings.

While you should not have contact with the ocean water, state officials say all other forms of recreation on these beaches are safe. Activities like picnicking, kiting, walking, etc. are encouraged. There is plenty of sandy stretches at all of these beaches to play on, and Seal Rock has numerous fascinating rock structures to explore.

Check the Oregon Coast Beach Safety and Alerts page for constant updates, or visit the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program website at http://www.healthoregon.org/beach or call 971-673-0482, or 877-290-6767 (toll-free).

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