Florida Keys Chapter

Blue Water Task Force

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Surfrider chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions.

We are excited to house our BWTF Lab at Ocean Studies Charter School in Key Largo and integrate the Lab into the student’s STEM education. Ocean Studies students and marine science faculty will join our Surfrider Chapter in water quality testing in the Upper Keys.

Pictured left to right: Emily (Our BWTF Coordinator), Martha (Marine Science Lead at OSCS), Whitney (Our Board Chair), and Katie (Our Board Secretary).

We will be launching the lab at the start of this 2022 school year!

For more information or to become a BWTF volunteer, send Emily, our BWTF Coordinator, an email at BWTF1@FloridaKeys.Surfrider.org

MEET THE BLUE WATER TASK FORCE

OUR SCIENCE-BASED APPROACH

Since the inception of the Blue Water Task Force program more than 25 years ago, Surfrider volunteers have been out in their communities testing water quality at the beach. Now a large national network with nearly 55 chapter-run labs, the Blue Water Task Force measures bacteria levels at more than 450 ocean, bay, estuary and freshwater sampling sites across the country. Surfrider chapters use this water testing program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions.

THE CLEAN WATER INITIATIVE

Surfrider’s Clean Water Initiative strives to protect water quality in local waterways and reduce pollution so it is safe to swim in, play in, and enjoy the ocean.  Learn more about the CWI here

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) program, which is part of the CWI, seeks to supplement state and local water monitoring programs by monitoring sites not covered and during times that are not tested to improve the public’s knowledge of the safety of their water.

Learn more about state water quality testing at Florida Healthy Beaches Program.

WATER QUALITY IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

WHAT ARE WE TESTING FOR?

Water tests performed by the BWTF measure the amount of enterococcus bacteria in a water sample. Enterococcus bacteria are bacteria that indicate fecal pollution (human or animal waste) and other pathogens that are also found in fecal matter that can make people sick with the stomach flu, rashes, eye and ear infections or worse.

The higher the level of the fecal indicating bacteria enterococcus, the higher the risk of other illness-causing pathogens being present in the water as well.

Learn more about the health risks from swimming in water tainted with human sewage or animal waste here.

BWTF RESOURCES AND UPDATES

Publications