2011 saw drop in Texas beach health advisories

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An environmental group says last year’s drought improved water quality along Texas beaches and led to a 45 percent drop in the number of 2011 health advisory days at Texas beaches.

A report issued Thursday by the New York-based nonprofit National Resources Defense Council says the lack of rain meant less polluted runoff. That meant just 385 health advisory days on Texas beaches in 2011, instead of the 704 reported in 2010.

The report says South Padre Island was one of the nation’s cleanest beaches, one of 12 to receive five stars in the NRDC beach rating system. However, it says beaches in Nueces, Matagorda, Kleberg, Harris and Aransas counties all exceeded the state’s daily maximum bacterial standard.