The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science program which provides valuable water quality information to beach communities, raises awareness of local water pollution problems and works collaboratively with local stakeholders to implement solutions. Surfrider’s network of 30+ volunteer-run BWTF labs measure bacteria levels at ocean and bay beaches and in freshwater sources, and compare them to the national water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health in recreational waters. Surfrider started its water testing program on Kaua’i nine years ago to provide more information to beachgoers on where it is safe to swim and surf. The Hawaii Department of Health monitors water quality at life-guarded beaches, while the Kaua’i Surfrider Chapter tests nearly 30 surf breaks, estuaries, and popular freshwater recreational sites on a monthly basis. All BWTF water quality data are posted online and available to the public at ( http://www.surfrider.org/blue-water-task-force). The Kaua’i Chapter also publishes an annual water quality report in their local paper and gives frequent talks in the community to build public awareness of local water quality issues. The Kaua’i Chapter uses its volunteer-generated data to advocate for better public health protection at the beach and to motivate government agencies to investigate and fix the sources of pollution.
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