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Beach & Shellfish Monitoring

Swimming Beaches

The BEACH Program is a joint program of the Washington Departments of Health and Ecology that monitors water quality at recreational swimming beaches throughout Puget Sound and coastal Washington. Jefferson County staff and other local organizations collect water samples at public swimming beaches in Jefferson County and submit them to the state lab for testing. The most recent results are posted at the above linked website or on this map.

Recreational Shellfish Safety

Jefferson County also assists the State Department of Health in monitoring the safety of shellfish. Recent closures are posted in our News section. Signs are also posted at public beaches. Harmful algae blooms (sometimes referred to as "red tides") can produce dangerous toxins. 7 cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning occured in Jefferson County in September, 2012 when a party harvested and ate mussels in a closed area. This poisoning resulted in hospitalization for several members of the group. In July 2012, Jefferson County experienced its first-ever closure for Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP). See this news article and this fact sheet for more information. For more details about biotoxins and shellfish consult this site at the Washington State Department of Health.


Before collecting shellfish for recreation:

  1. Are the shellfish safe to eat? DOH Shellfish Safety Map or call 800-562-5632
  2. Am I harvesting the right species? Species identifier chart
  3. Is the beach open for harvest? Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife shellfish website.

Shellfish Safety Hotline (800) 562-5632

 DOH Recreational Shellfish Facebook page





Harmful algae blooms are showing up in places they have not been seen before, such as Hood Canal. Clara Hard gave this presentation on Biotoxins at the Quilcene Community Center on May 14, 2015:


Washington State Department of Health has prepared a study of Vibrio parahaemolyticus including environmental monitoring and illness investigations.

Laura Johnson gave this presentation on Vibrio at JCPH February 19, 2015 (pdf).

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Jefferson County Jefferson County Public Health
615 Sheridan Street - Port Townsend, WA 98368
Community Health: 360.385.9400 | Environmental Health: 360.385.9444