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Great Lakes Article:

Beaches added to Wisconsin's impaired waters list
Duluth News Tribune
Published June 6, 2006

Three Lake Superior South Shore beaches have been added to Wisconsin's official list of "impaired waters" this year because of bacteria contamination.

The beaches are among 45 new waterways added to the state's list of waters considered too polluted for safe fishing or swimming.

The beaches include Barkers Island inner beach, two Brule River State Forest beaches in Douglas County and Maslowski Beach in Ashland. They have been posted closed several times in recent years because of high levels of bacteria that might indicate a human health problem if water at the beaches is swallowed.

There are now 643 waterways on the Wisconsin list, including lakes, sections of rivers and beaches, said Carolyn Betz of the DNR's waters program. States are required to submit lists every other year to the federal government.

Nearly half of the 45 new additions are beaches, a reflection of Wisconsin testing more than 115 public beaches on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior for bacteria as part of the federal BEACH Act of 2000.

Officials say that the beaches aren't necessarily more polluted but that testing has revealed what probably has been a longtime problem.

The DNR says water quality in seven water bodies in Wisconsin has improved enough so those waters should be removed from the list of impaired waters.

The DNR says the greatest number of waters on the list are impaired by airborne mercury from power plants and other sources that enter the aquatic food chain and which has triggered a statewide fish consumption advisory. The second-leading problem is sedimentation -- soil entering the water in runoff from farms, construction sites and urban storm sewers. The third-biggest problem is excessive phosphorus and other nutrients from fertilizers, sewage and other sources.

The impaired waters list can be found at and the DNR is seeking comments on the draft list of impaired waters until June 30. Send comments to Carolyn Betz at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7921, WT/2, Madison, WI 53707 or e-mail


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