Georgia’s beach water quality and swimming advisories are moving exclusively to a new, real-time map that will allow the public to find information on the go.
The Georgia Healthy Beaches advisory map at GaHealthyBeaches.org is available on mobile and desktop platforms for beachgoers to pinpoint their location and find current advisories, as well as parking, first aid, and amenity information.
“This move to an online, real-time application will give the public the best available information and streamline the process for advising beachgoers,” said Ed Zmarzly, the coordinator of the Healthy Beaches program at the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Local authorities will continue to use existing signage that also indicates when a beach is under advisement. The division issues swimming advisories on behalf of the Georgia Department of Public Health when levels of the bacteria enterococcus are found to be present in waters at levels that reach certain thresholds. Enterococcus is a bacteria found in the guts of warm-blooded animals and may indicate the presence of other bacteria harmful to humans and pets.
The new map is an ArcGIS platform that shows the most up-to-date advisements for particular beach segments. Users can zoom in on their particular location and see green zones for clear beaches and orange for beaches under advisement. The map also provides links to local beach conditions, rules and laws governing particular beaches, and seasonal lifeguard stations.
Previously, the division sent all beach advisories out via a mass email system. The decision to discontinue the emails and move to a real-time web map was made to provide the public with the most up-to-date advisories and avoid confusion.
“This map is a great resource for folks planning a day at the beach, whether they’re swimming, surfing, or fishing,” Zmarzly said.
The Georgia Healthy Beaches program is a cooperative program between the division and the department of public health’s Coastal Health District. It is funded through a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Members of the public or media who have additional questions may contact the division’s public information officer, Tyler Jones, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-262-3140.