For the third consecutive year, the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes beaches were open 95 percent of the time during the swimming season in 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in its annual beach report.

The latest report also shows that state and local governments continue to make progress in notifying the public about beach water quality. The states use their EPA grant funds to gather and share beach water quality information with beachgoers to help them make more informed decisions.

The report summarizes state and territorial data on beach closures and health advisories from the previous year’s swimming season.

As authorized by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000, every year EPA provides grants to coastal and Great Lakes states, territories and eligible tribes to monitor their coastal and Great Lakes beaches, and to notify the public when water sampling identifies potential health problems.

To date, EPA has awarded more than $82 million in BEACH Act grants to help protect beachgoers.

More information about the report and EPA’s beach program can be found at

Source: US EPA