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Monday, September 11, 2006

Surfrider Foundation's Coastal Bend Chapter Paddles Out for Clean Water

September 9, 2006, Corpus Christi, TX

More than 30 surfers and environmental activists gathered at Bob Hall Pier in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday, September 9, 2006 as part of the National Paddle Out for Clean Water. Led by Neil McQueen, Coastal Bend Chapter Chair, their goal was to raise public awareness and support for improving coastal water quality both locally and throughout the nation.

“One of our purposes today is to highlight the release of Surfrider’s sixth annual State of the Beach report,” McQueen told the crowd. “This report is the only comprehensive survey of national beach and coastal health in existence.

“But our second purpose is to bring attention to the City of Corpus Christi's need to post beaches when testing shows that bacteria levels are too high to meet EPA standards for safe human contact,” McQueen said. “As part of its Texas Beach Watch Program, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) has designed signs for counties and cities to use when notifying the public in such cases.”

So far, the local government has declined to post the signs – even though the waters off Cole Park and Ropes Park in Corpus Christi exceed the safe standards more frequently than any other locations tested in the county. (National Resource Defense Councils’ report “Testing the Waters 2006” http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/titinx.asp.)

Test results for waters along Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico also raise potential public health concerns, so CBC Surfrider continues to urge the City of Corpus Christi to help protect beachgoers in Corpus Christi Bay and along the Gulf by installing and using the GLO’s signs as intended.

When the surfers paddled out at Bob Hall Pier, they formed the traditional circle and raised their arms high. Hoping to send a message that could be heard all the way to downtown Corpus Christi they shouted, “Clean water! Clean water! Clean water!”


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