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Boca Save Our Beaches Partners for Clean Waterways

by Jessica Gray

Boca Save our Beaches strives to protect water quality in local waterways by reducing pollution, so it is safe to surf, swim and play in the ocean. We believe everyone should have access to clean water.

We are taking a multi-tiered approach to tackle ocean pollution problems. Soon, we will be testing our local waters for bacteria, raising public awareness, and finding real solutions to ocean pollution; solutions that restore healthy watersheds, protect local water supplies, and keep pollution from reaching the ocean.

Like many waterways across the nation, local waters rarely receive routine water quality monitoring from local, state and federal government agencies. Therefore, many of the pollution sources in our watershed often flow unchecked for long periods of time – resulting in environmental degradation and public health threats. 


 In an effort to fill this void of water quality data and address the many pollution sources plaguing our waterways, Boca Save our Beaches – partnered with Palm Beach County’s Surfrider Chapter and Boca High to initiate a large-scale volunteer water quality monitoring program called the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) which is set to roll out this semester. The program will result in real, measurable water quality improvements in our community’s waterways.

The Blue Water Task Force is Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science water testing program that provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach.  Surfrider chapters use this program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions. Chapter-run BWTF programs fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of agency-run beach monitoring programs by sampling ocean and bay beaches and potential freshwater sources of pollution such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach.

Dr. Rachel Wellman’s students will test water samples brought in from Boca Save our Beaches volunteers weekly. Once the water is tested, results will be updated onto Surfrider’s BWTF website for public access, bringing water results to our community. Currently, the BWTF’s water monitoring program ends in Boynton Beach – so this program, generously funded by Palm Beach County’s Surfrider Chapter, will bring much needed data to South County. 

REI Co-op, set to open in Uptown Boca this fall, has generously offered to donate supplies such as coolers and backpacks. This will help volunteers store the water samples at proper temperatures during transport. As the nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 19 million members who love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and getting outside to enjoy nature. A partnership is a win – win. 


If you are looking to get involved, we are seeking 4 volunteers to collect water samples every other week on Monday mornings. Each volunteer will be in charge of two sites in east Boca Raton. On Monday mornings, we will test the water and drop off the samples to Boca High by 11am. All supplies will be provided to you, thanks to REI and Surfrider! We are happy to give service hours or an internship for these positions – just send us a message! 

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