Beaches added to Wisconsin's impaired
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
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 www.dnr.wi.gov/org/water/wm/wqs/
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 Carolyn.Betz@dnr.state.wi.us..