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:
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 hey, 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.