Beach Conditions a Mouse Click Away
Personal forecasts available via e-mail
MILWAUKEE – Beachgoers can stick their toes in the water this summer without leaving home.
Daily updates on water quality conditions at 118 beaches along Lakes Michigan and Superior and at more than 100 state park beaches are available online at [www.wibeaches.us] (exit DNR). Beachgoers also can sign up at this site to have a personal beach forecast e-mailed to them daily, and can find historical beach data, annual reports, and more information about beach health.
“Wisconsin has 52 miles of fabulous public beaches on the Great Lakes, and this web site can provide you with important information about your favorite spot,” says Shaunna Chase, Wisconsin Great Lakes Beach Program coordinator.
This is the sixth summer that public beaches along Wisconsin’s Great Lakes coast will be regularly tested for bacteria, and results will be posted on the web site and via signs at the beaches. The 118 beaches in the 13 coastal counties participating this summer will be monitored anywhere from one to four times a week, depending on the beaches’ usage and other factors. An advisory is posted when levels of E. coli reach 235 colony forming units, and a “closed” sign is posted when E. coli levels exceed 1,000 colony forming units.
The program is administered by the Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with 14 participants including municipal and county health departments and University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh researchers. It’s primarily funded by a federal grant program under the Beach Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, which aims to increase visitors’ awareness of, and reduce potential exposure to, disease-causing microorganisms in coastal recreational waters.
Wisconsin also has been a part of a program to determine ways of identifying sources of beach contamination so that local beach managers may manage or eliminate those sources, which in turn will reduce risks to beach users.
Beaches such as North Beach in Racine County and Sister Bay Beach in Door County have received national awards for the work their local leaders have done to address problems and make these beaches healthy, Chase says.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Shaunna Chase (608) 266-2554