Jefferson County annual BEACH report

Three beaches in Jefferson County were sampled weekly from May 22 through Sept. 1, 2017:

  • Camp Parsons Boy Scout Brinnon Camp
  • Fort Worden State Park
  • Oak Bay County Park

Details on each beach are presented in the text below.

Sandy beach with driftwood and a few bathers. In the distance, there is a lighthouse, tower, and lodge building. In the far distance is Mt. Rainier.

Beach at Fort Worden State Park 

Keeping beaches safe

The Beach Environmental Assessment, Communication & Health (BEACH) Program ensures that marine water is safe to swim and play in and informs the public if water doesn't meet swimming standards.

During the 2017 beach season, 62 public beaches on coastlines were sampled from Memorial Day through Labor Day. High-use beaches were sampled weekly or biweekly for enterococcus, a type of fecal bacteria. High enterococcus levels are linked to swimmer illness.

Jefferson County saltwater swimming beaches

We monitored three Jefferson County beaches weekly during the swimming season. All Jefferson County beaches that were sampled had good water quality with little to no bacteria present during most sampling events.

Camp Parsons Boy Scout Camp

During the 2017 monitoring season, Camp Parsons Boy Scout Brinnon Camp beach was sampled 16 times. On May 31 and a subsequent sampling on June 1, bacterial results were in the advisory range. All other sampling events met the swimming standard.

Fort Worden State Park beach

Port Townsend Marine Science Center volunteers sampled this beach 15 times during the swimming season. This beach had very good water quality and met the swimming standards during all periods sampled.

Oak Bay County Park beach

During the 2017 swim season, Oak Bay County Park beach had excellent water quality. This beach met the swimming standards during all periods sampled.

Data summary: Bacteria results compared to standards

The chart below summarizes the bacteria levels at Jefferson County beaches in relation to the EPA swimming standard or saltwater swimming criteria. Beaches are considered unsafe for swimming when the geometric mean of enterococcus/100 mL of water is greater than or equal to 35 and the statistical threshold value of enterococcus/100 mL is greater than or equal to 276. We issue a public swimming advisory when enterococcus levels reach 104 per 100 mL of water. 

Table: Calculated geometric mean and statistical threshold value at Jefferson County beaches
(in enterococcus per 100 mL) for 2017
Beach Geometric Mean Statistical Threshold Value
Camp Parsons Boy Scout Brinnon Camp 15 50
Fort Worden State Park 11 18
Oak Bay County Park <10 <10