Rotary Beach south of Saxman is also called Bugge’s Beach. (KRBD file photo)

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued a water-quality advisory on Tuesday for six beach areas in Ketchikan. Recent tests show those areas have elevated levels of enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria.

People are advised to avoid exposure to the water next to South Point Higgins Beach, Shull Beach south of Whipple Creek, Sunset Beach on the south end of Mud Bight, Thomas Basin downtown, Rotary Beach, also known as Bugge’s Beach; and Herring Cove Beach.

DEC recommends not swimming in the water, washing after contact with the water, and rinsing any fish caught in those areas.

Fecal coliform bacteria levels were above state limits for consumption of raw fish and shellfish at two other beaches: South Refuge Cove and Mountain Point. A recreational advisory is not in effect for those two beaches, but cleaning and cooking any fish caught there is recommended.

Marine water samples have been collected weekly at 11 beaches near Ketchikan since May 17. The monitoring project continues through mid-September.

Here’s a story we did earlier this summer about the monitoring project.

According to DEC, the beaches tested this year are:

  • Knudson Cove (16 miles north of Ketchikan, near Clover Pass)
  • Beacon Hill (off of North Point Higgins Road)
  • South Point Higgins Beach (on Port Higgins)
  • Shull Road (south of Whipple Creek)
  • Sunset Beach (south end of Mud Bay)
  • Refuge Cove Beach (south end of Refuge Cove Beach State Park)
  • Thomas Basin (Stedman Street Bridge, mouth of Ketchikan Creek)
  • Seaport Beach (near Saxman)
  • Rotary Beach and Rotary Pool, also known as Bugges Beach (south of Saxman)
  • Mountain Point – Surprise Beach and Cultural Foods location (near Mountain Point boat launch)
  • Herring Cove Beach (north end of Herring Cove