Here's how the state's beaches remain a key element of the California Dream

With summer officially underway, we're looking at California's beautiful Pacific coast.
Our special series "California Dreaming" takes a close look at the issues that are threatening the California Dream, and the people working to keep the dream alive.

With summer officially underway, it's time to celebrate one of the great things about living in the Golden State - our beaches. California's coastline is about 1,100 miles with more than 500 beaches.

"Whether you're exploring a kelp forest or these beautiful cliffs overlooking the ocean, the features that we have up and down the California coast are just beautiful and striking," said Anupa Asokan with Surfrider Foundation.

"The California coastline has some of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world. There is nothing like this, it is so unbelievably special," said Emily Parker, a coastal and marine scientist with Heal the Bay.

"There are many things along California's coasts that have improved dramatically over the last few decades," said Mark Gold, deputy secretary for oceans and coastal policy and director of the Ocean Protection Council at the California Natural Resources Agency.

Heal the Bay released their annual report card, which analyzes 500 beaches throughout the Golden State. The water quality results for most beaches ranked positively, which means the majority of California beaches are safe, clean and healthy to enjoy this summer.

"Surfrider Foundation has a program called the Blue Water Task Force," said Asokan. "Volunteers go out and take water samples and put out a report to make sure our beaches are swimmable."

California has a network of 124 Marine Protected Areas, known as MPAs, which account for 16% of the state's waters. These areas are safe havens for wildlife and marine life. One of the best things about these protected spaces is that visitors can visit these special areas.

"We're really one of the leaders in the entire country, if not the world, in putting together that network of marine protected areas," said Gold. "Governor Newsom passed an executive order to actually conserve 30% of our land and sea by the year 2030. And so this 30 by 30 initiative, this is a global movement!"

Our special docuseries "California Dreaming" explores the challenges, solutions and people striving to keep the Golden State great, and the California Dream alive. Download our app on Roku, AppleTV, FireTV or AndroidTV to watch the special now on your TV.
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