Oregon Region


Blue Water Task Force

Our Blue Water Task Force Program in Oregon operates 7 different labs, testing water quality at local recreational beaches and partnering with schools, watershed councils and NGOs through each of their programs. Oregon’s Blue Water Task Force programs are 100% volunteer run and solely funded through local chapter fundraising efforts. Our programs preceded the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Human Services Beach Monitoring Program, funded through the federal BEACH ACT, and one of our chief efforts is to help keep that program funded. Our program tests recreational beaches year round, while the state’s program tests fewer beaches only during the summer months. Beyond important recreational areas, our chapters have integrated important ecological areas into their monitoring programs, sampling at all 5 marine reserve sites along the coast.

Get Local Results

Visit each of our chapter’s Blue Water Task Force program pages below to get the latest local results, find out about volunteer opportunities and view our interactive maps:

North Coast Lab – This lab, hosted at Seaside High School, monitors 10 sites from Short Sands to Seaside. Contact Jesse Jones (chair@northcoast-or.surfrider.org) to get involved with collecting samples. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici recently visited with the High School students that run this lab – get the full scoop here. Funding for the North Coast Lab provided by the Portland Chapter.

Three Capes Lab – This lab, hosted by the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, monitors five sites near Pacific City. Volunteers collect samples every other Wednesday morning. To become a volunteer, email chair@threecapes-or.surfrider.org.

Depoe Bay Lab – This lab, hosted at Neighbors for Kids, a nonprofit that provides a safe place for students to come after school, monitors 5 sites from Depoe Bay Harbor to Roads End. Read more about how this lab is empowering youth and making science accessible. Funding for the Depoe Bay Lab provided by the Newport Chapter.

Newport Lab – This lab, hosted by the Oregon Coast Aquarium, monitors 13 sites from Seal Rock to Otter Rock. Water samples are collected on a weekly basis by volunteers and samples are processed by the Aquarium’s High School Student Scholars. Contact Kacey (bwtf@newport.surfrider.org) to get involved with collecting samples.

Florence Lab – The Florence Lab, hosted by the Siuslaw Watershed Council, monitors 8 sites from Siltcoos Outlet to Searose Beach. Contact Linda Serbus (lindaserbus@gmail.com) to get involved with collecting samples.

Charleston Lab – This lab, hosted at the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, monitors 6 sites from Cape Arago to Winchester Bay. Contact Carmen Matthews (bwtf@coosbay.surfrider.org) to get involved with collecting water samples.

Bandon Lab – This lab is run by our Bandon High School Club and monitors 2 sites – Crooked Creek and Bandon South Jetty Park. This is completely run by students overseen by their advisor and teacher, Trent Hatfield. Funding for the Bandon Lab is provided by the Coos Bay Chapter.

Port Orford Lab – This lab, hosted at Pacific High School, monitors 9 sites from Mount Humbug to Floras Lake. Contact Bri (oregon@surfrider.org) to get involved with collecting water samples. Funding for the Port Orford Lab is provided by the Coos Bay Chapter.

About the program, volunteering and more:

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our goal is simple: to protect and monitor the areas where we want to play. Because, who wants to get sick from playing in the ocean? Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents, and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions. In Newport, tons of progress and work has been done working with the city through advocacy and partnerships to advance sewer and stormwater improvements, particularly in the Nye Beach basin.

The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public’s knowledge of the safety of their beach water. BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters.

What do volunteers do?

Field volunteers collect water quality samples and drop off samples at one of our lab locations. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on how many sites you sample, how far from the beach you are, and how long it takes you to travel to one of our labs. Our trained lab volunteers and youth help run the analysis of the samples in the lab, incubating them for 24 hours and posting the results the following day on our National Blue Water Task Force site.