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Appendix II. Maine Healthy Beaches Program Risk Assessment Matrix

  • III.

    Beach Activities and Environmental Conditions

    • Access the appropriate data/reports and conduct on-site evaluation to obtain the information for this section.

    • Total the number of points and enter the sum in the Section III. Total Points Box.

  • IV.

    Subtract Points for the Following

    • Access the appropriate data/reports and conduct on-site evaluation to obtain the information for this section.

    • Total the number of points and enter the sum in the Section IV. Total Points Box.

  • V.

    RAM Final Score

    • Enter the section totals in their corresponding boxes.

    • Total all of the section points and enter the final score in the Section VI. Final Total Box. This final RAM score will correspond with the RAM Ranking system.

RAM Ranking System

The final RAM score corresponds to a ranking or grade with associated recommendations. The beach rankings are meant as guidelines to help communities and resource managers assess the recreational water quality and safety of their beach- es. Conditions can change very rapidly in the coastal surf zone and the RAM is simply one piece of the beach manage- ment “tool-box.”

The exercise of completing the RAM will allow beach managers to gain a better understanding of the beach area and to assist in making informed management decisions such as when to post a beach advisory or closure, or to determine whether a more thorough sanitary survey is warranted.4 It is a get to know your beach exercise.

Two examples of using the RAM in making beach management decisions:

  • Bacteria results are slightly above the safety limit, there is no known safety hazard (e.g., malfunctioning septic, sewage treatment plant overflow), the conditions are not the typical “worst-case scenario” and the Beach Ranking = A. The beach manager may choose to wait for the resample results before posting an advisory.

  • The same conditions as above, but the Beach Ranking = D. The beach manager may choose a more cautious approach and post an advisory or closure immediately, prior to the availability of resample results.

Beach Scores & Rankings

    • A.

      (0-50 points) Suggested Action: Conduct routine monitoring once per week or less during the monitoring season. Resample if Enterococci results exceed the single sample safely level of 104 mpn/100 ml of sample water. Routinely update the RAM and take precautionary actions to maintain healthy conditions including routine septic system inspections, reduce runoff by planting buffers and minimizing impervious surfaces within the watershed, ensure adequate pump-out facilities for boats, etc.

    • B.

      (51-100 points) Suggested Action: Continue to monitor at least once per week depending on the recorded bacteria levels. Additional monitoring of freshwater inputs (river mouths, streams, storm drains) during wet weather events may be warranted. Examine the relationship between bacteria levels and other parameters (e.g., rainfall, tidal stage, bather load). Education and outreach efforts should promote healthy sanitary practices at the beach and throughout the watershed.

  • 4.

    Beaches with low scores may also require sanitary surveys.

47

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