Six prominent San Luis Obispo County beaches were graded in a report released Thursday by environmental nonprofit Heal the Bay that took a look at the water quality of more than 400 beaches along the California Coast.
The report assigned A-to-F water-quality grades based on samples taken from Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Morro Bay City Beach, Morro Strand State Beach, Cayucos State Beach and beaches in San Simeon. The better the grade a beach receives, the lower the risk of illness and harmful bacteria. Water samples were analyzed for three fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) that indicate pollution from numerous sources, including human and animal waste.
Leading the way in high marks for SLO County were Morro Bay City Beach and the beach at Pico Avenue in San Simeon. Both made the Heal the Bay "Honor Roll" with "A+" grades during all seasons and weather conditions.
Overall, summer dry grades were “excellent” in SLO County with 100 percent A or B grades. Winter dry A or B grades were 6 percent lower than the five-year average of 89 percent.
“Unlike most counties, San Luis Obispo County had great wet weather grades, with 95 percent A or Bs,” the report states.
No beaches received "D" or "F" grades, but three spots received "Cs": Morro Strand State Beach at Beachcomber Drive (winter dry), Pismo Beach at Wadsworth Street (wet weather) and Avila Beach, Olde Port Beach (winter dry).
The water samples analyzed were broken into three periods from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018: summer dry season (April-October), winter dry season (November-March) and before or during a rain storm.
Here's a look at each SLO County beach and the grades they received for the past year.