Palos Verdes beaches are among the healthiest in the South Bay, according to Heal the Bay's 2011-12 Beach Report Card, released Thursday.
Beaches in Palos Verdes Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, including Malaga Cove, Bluff Cove, Long Point, and Portuguese Bend Cove, all received A and A+ grades from the Santa Monica-based nonprofit. The grades were given for summer dry, winter dry and wet weather conditions.
Bluff Cove, Long Point and Abalone Cove made the report card's "honor roll" as the state's year-round monitored beaches with excellent water quality for the entire year.
Heal the Bay last year in the group's End of Summer Beach Report Card.
Local beaches from the Los Angeles County Department of Health. And in addition to being one of the healthiest beaches, Abalone Cove in Rancho Palos Verdes has also .
The report card shows 82 percent of L.A. beaches earned A or B grades, a 7-percent improvement over last year.
"That’s good news for L.A. beach-goers at a majority of beach locations," said Heal the Bay Water Quality Director Kirsten James.
Heal the Bay attributed the good grades to ongoing infrastructure improvements, mainly storm water diversion systems that keep bacteria laden runoff from washing into the ocean.
A press conference held to announce the results of the 2011-12 report card took place at the beach in Pacific Palisades, where construction is underway on an $8 million diversion system that will divert runoff from flowing into the waters off Will Rogers Beach and spreading further south into the Santa Monica Bay.
Most of the beaches in Los Angeles continue to notch failing grades when rainy months are factored into the scores. During the winter, stormwater diversion systems can't typically capture all of the polluted runoff that gushes into the ocean.
Lower scores represent higher levels of bacteria that Heal the Bay said put surfers and swimmers at risk for stomach flu, ear infections and skin rashes.
"There's always more that can be done," said Beach Report Card Program Manager Mike Grimmer.
The report grades more than 650 locations from San Diego County to Whatcom County, WA, in the summer dry weather and more than 300 locations year-round on a scale of A to F.
“No beach should make you sick,” James said.
All county health departments are required to test beach water quality samples for three types of indicator bacteria at least once a week during the summer season. Heal the Bay compiles the data, analyzes it and assigns the letter grades.
Heal the Bay said one of the reasons Los Angeles County beaches score lower than their neighbors in Orange and Ventura is because their monitoring agencies collect samples directly in front of storm drains and creeks that channel runoff into the ocean. Orange and Ventura counties monitor 25 yards or more away from those sources.
A handful of significantly polluted beaches helped drag down L.A. County’s overall grades, most notably in Malibu. The city claimed four of the 10 spots on the Heal the Bay’s Beach Bummer list, a ranking of the 10 most polluted beaches in the state: Puerco Beach, Dan Blocker, Surfrider and Escondido. Other county sites on the top 10 list of "beach bummers" are Topanga State Beach and the harbor side of Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.
In total, 11 beaches in Los Angeles County received F grades during the summer, up from last year’s nine.