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In 1999, the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the US EPA, proposed a new approach to beach risk assessment using a health-based monitoring program of recreational waters decided through consideration of the beach's recent microbiological status and its susceptibility to fecal contamination. This feasibility study was named the “Annapolis Protocol” (WHO, 1999).

For the past five years, New Zealand has been adapting this protocol for use at its recreational beaches nation-wide (MfE, 2002). Microbial data have been converted and collated for a minimum of five years to provide the basis for the Microbial Assessment Category. In addition, Catchment Assessment Checklists have been completed to assess risk from the surrounding land use. By combining these two risk-based procedures it has been possible to evaluate public health risk more effectively than by using indicator bacterial levels alone. In addition, it has provided the public with an easily understood grading system which individuals can then use to decide which beaches to visit.

This paper presents an analysis of the potential pros and cons of adopting such a system for Southern Californian beaches with particular emphasis on current Californian management practices including the use of AB411, the Ocean Plan, Basin Plan and the implementation of bacterial total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) to meet REC1 (contact recreational), REC2 (non-contact recreational) and SHELL (shellfish harvesting) beneficial uses.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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