The eight bay shoreline monitoring sites were selected because they represent the areas with the most recreational contact. The sites are (from north to south) Coleman Beach (site code COL), Tidelands Park (TID), Windy Cove (WIN), State Park Marina (SPM), Pasadena Point (PAS), Baywood Pier (BAY), Cuesta Inlet (CIN), and Sharks Inlet (SIN).
Of the eight sites monitored, historical trends showed six sites typically had only rare exceedances of recreational contact standards. The four sites toward the mouth of the bay (COL, TID, WIN, and SPM) are along the well-mixed channel and are thought to be primarily influenced by ocean water entering the bay with the incoming tide. These sites have very few elevated bacteria results. The two sites further back in the bay, Cuesta Inlet (CIN) and Sharks Inlet (SIN), have minimal exceedances of recreational standards. These sites may experience some water circulation issues, as the back bay is shallow and experiences minimal mixing with the incoming tides during certain times of year. The reason for the lower bacteria concentrations might be the lack of bacteria input. Two sites, Baywood Pier and Pasadena Point, had more frequent exceedances of the standard. BAY and PAS had elevated bacteria levels in approximately 30% of their samples during 2017. In 2018, PAS had only one reading that exceeded the safe swimming standards. All results from BAY were safe for swimming, which has not occurred since 2008. These two sites may have higher bacteria levels due to human sources such as stormwater runoff and natural sources such as wildlife.