It’s a shitty job but it’s good that someone’s going to do it. Some malicious fecal matter is adrift in our oceans and now we’re going to know how much is really there.

The Shoreline Preservation Fund, which receives a $3 lock-in fee from students to fund a variety of environmental and safety projects, granted CalPIRG and the Isla Vista Surfrider Foundation $500 for the Blue Water Task Force. This team effort involves testing the quality level of the lagoon and waters adjacent to UCSB.

The task force tests for nasty little bacteria, which cause a variety of unsightly problems ranging from fungal infection to nausea and bloody diarrhea. These bacteria get into the water through runoff and seagulls that use the ocean as their personal commode. Santa Barbara County monitors Sands Beach and Goleta Beach for harmful bacteria, but leaves the beaches just off of UCSB untouched due to the university’s unincorporated nature. It takes about 2-3 days before the county can post its lab results; the test results done by the Blue Water Task Force will receive results much sooner, alerting the community the next day of any harmful conditions.

If they find that the levels of these bacteria are particularly high, then the task force will warn the rest of us. While it would be nice if it were safe to go in the water anytime we wanted, a heads up will do just fine. People who feel the urge to commune with bird shit will know exactly what they’re in for, vomit and all.

SPF and the Blue Water Task Force are proof that not all of the boards and committees affiliated with A.S. flush students’ cash down the crapper. Through their strict grant process and intelligent allocation of funds, SPF proves that lock-ins aren’t so bad after all. Other boards and committees should follow SPF’s example. Lock-in fees exist so that programs, projects and events can give back to the campus community.