The Natural Resources Defense Council has ranked the best and worst beaches in 2006 according to water quality.

Beach Buddies: Monitored beach water quality regularly violated public health standards less than 10 percent of the time, and took significant steps to reduce pollution:

— North Carolina: KureBeach and Kill Devil HillsBeach

— Wisconsin: SisterBay Beach and NorthBeach

— California: Laguna Beach

— Michigan: GrandHaven City Beach and GrandHaven State Park beaches

— Maine: Libby Cove, Mother’s, Middle, CapeNeddick, Short Sands and YorkHarbor beaches

Beach Bums: Violated public health standards 51 percent or more of the time samples were taken:

— California: AvalonBeach (north of Green Pleasure Pier) (53 percent) and VeniceState Beach (57 percent)

— Maryland: Hacks Point (60 percent) and Bay Country Campground and Beach (56 percent)

— New Jersey: BeachwoodBeachWest (60 percent)

— Illinois: JacksonPark Beach (54 percent)

Source: Natural Resources Defense Council