On June 25, 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released its 24th annual report card and named the top 35 superstar beaches in the United States and Coquina Beach was one of them. The report called “Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches,” collects and analyzes the latest water testing results from the EPA and state beach coordinators at nearly 3,500 coastal and Great Lakes beach testing locations nationwide.
In order to earn the designation of Superstar the 35 beaches from 14 states identified this year have had to consistently meet water quality safety thresholds. Each of these beaches met national water quality benchmarks 98 per cent of the time over the past five years.
In a Manatee County press release Charlie Hunsicker, Director of Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources, said: “This prestigious designation comes on the heels of Trip Advisor naming Anna Maria Island as one of the top three underrated beach towns in the United States. It’s a reflection of the years of work by Manatee County Government to protect and manage the waters in and around Anna Maria Island under the guidance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program designation for Sarasota Bay, capturing all of Anna Maria Island beaches in that designation.”
Along with the good news the NRDC report found that ten percent of all water quality samples collected from U.S. coastal and Great Lakes Beach testing results last year contained bacteria levels that failed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s most protective benchmark for swimmer safety.
The NRDC recommends the adoption of the Clean Water Protection Rule proposed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. This federal rule would make sure that tributary streams and wetlands are protected from pollution under the Clean Water Act. Additionally, they recommend investing in smarter, greener infrastructure on land, like porous pavement, green roofs, parks, roadside plantings and rain barrels.