funding granted for E. coli research
Save the Dunes Conservation Fund (SDCF), Indiana University
Northwest and the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
are partnering to develop an E. coli beach monitoring
and notification plan for Indiana’s portion of the Lake
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM)
has contracted with the organizations, who are receiving
federal funds through the state, to develop the plan in
response to the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal
Health (BEACH) Act requirements. The Interagency E. coli
Task Force, which includes state and federal agencies,
non-profit organizations, academic institutions and interested
citizens, will guide this process to completion.
The BEACH Act was passed by Congress in October 2000
in order to “reduce the risk of disease to users of the
nation’s recreational waters.” The legislation, which
amended the federal Clean Water Act, requires states to
adopt new or revised water quality standards by April
It also requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) to further study health effects of disease-causing
pathogens. The Act authorizes EPA to award grants to states
to develop and implement a program for monitoring and
assessing coastal recreation waters, which include the
Great Lakes, for pathogens and pathogen indicators.
“This grant will enable us to take important steps toward
protecting the health of the over 1.7 million people who
enjoy Indiana’s Lake Michigan beaches during the summer
months,” says SDCF Director Sandra L. Wilmore. Lake, Porter
and LaPorte county beaches are regularly tested for E.
coli, a bacteria found in human and animal waste that
is used to indicate fecal contamination.
The goals of the Indiana BEACH Act grant are to establish
a more consistent monitoring plan and to improve notification
of beach closings and advisories to beach-goers. The partnering
organizations will evaluate, prioritize, and classify
Indiana’s Lake Michigan beaches and other public points
of access to coastal waters according to health risk.
The beach monitoring and notification plan must meet
performance criteria published by EPA in order for Indiana
to be eligible for the grant. These criteria include evaluation
and classification, monitoring, public notification and
prompt risk communication, and public evaluation. Although
the BEACH Act does not mandate testing of coastal waters,
it provides funds for developing and expanding such testing.
“In the spring of 2003, the public can expect to find
a Web site through the Sea Grant server that provides
up-to-date, critical information about beaches and beach
closings in Indiana,” said Leslie Dorworth, Illinois-Indiana
Sea Grant aquatic ecology specialist.
E. coli Task Force information can be reached at the
Dept. of Natural Resources Web site: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/lakemich/ecoli/index.html
Leslie. E. Dorworth, Aquatic Ecologist
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
firstname.lastname@example.org (219) 989-2726
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
email@example.com (219) 980-6698