Anna Maria Island's Coquina Beach named 'superstar beach' by national environmental group

kirby@bradenton.comJuly 2, 2014 

BRADENTON BEACH -- The Natural Resources Defense Council named Coquina Beach one of 35 "superstar" beaches in the United States for its water quality, according to a release from Manatee County government.

The NRDC produces an annual report of the water quality of nearly 3,500 beaches in the U.S. The report collects and analyzes the latest water testing results from the Environmental Protection Agency and state beach coordinators at beach testing locations nationwide.

Superstar beaches are popular beaches that consistently meet water quality safety thresholds and met national water quality benchmarks 98 percent of the time over the past five years.

"This prestigious designation comes on the heels of Trip Advisor naming Anna Maria Island as one of the top three underrated beach towns in the United States," said Charlie Hunsicker, director of Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. "It's a reflection of the years of work by Manatee County Government to protect and manage the waters in and around Anna Maria Island under the guidance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Estuary Program designation for Sarasota Bay, capturing all of Anna Maria Island beaches in that designation."

Two other beaches in Florida also received the distinction: Fort De Soto North Beach and Bowman's Beach.

About 10 percent of beaches nationwide and 10 percent of beaches in Florida do not meet the EPA's most protective benchmark for water quality, according to the report.

When standards were weaker in 2013, 7 percent of beaches nationwide didn't meet the standard.

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