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Heal The Bay: Drought Means Good Grades For San Diego County Beaches

A report released Wednesday shows the majority of San Diego County's beaches had excellent water conditions for the past 12 months.

The Santa Monica-based environmental group Heal the Bay gave 93 percent of the region's beaches an A grade for water quality for the dry periods last summer and winter — and there were a lot of dry times.

Leslie Griffin, data analyst for the group, said the high grades are a result of the prolonged drought — less rainfall equals low runoff.

"It also is causing people to create better decisions at home, to make better decisions when it comes to watering their lawns and washing their cars," Griffin said. "And that’s resulting in less overall urban runoff. And when we have less urban runoff, we have better water quality."

But one city beach at Mission Bay received an F rating because of excessive bacteria and pollution, Griffin said.

During wet periods, the grades are different. In San Diego County, 15 percent of beaches received a D or F grade following rainy days.

"That can have a large impact on public health — especially surfers since surfers do go out often during wet weather events because the swell is better," Griffin said. "So this is something that we’re concerned about."

San Elijo State Park and Cardiff State Beach were among the state’s top beaches with the cleanest water.

To see a map of California beaches and how they fared in the report card, go to brc.healthebay.org/.

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