will address beach bacteria source
STURGEON BAY - Door County will launch an effort to begin
tracking Lake Michigan bacteria sources, County Conservationist
William Schuster said Thursday.
looking for experts to help us with the characterization
of our beaches and source identification (of bacteria),
Schuster said Thursday.
Local, state and federal officials from Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan and Wisconsin have been invited to advise the
informal effort, which has no name, Schuster said. The
group will hold its first meeting Wednesday in Manitowoc.
Schuster said no politicians will attend and the meeting
is not open to the public.
is about finding a methodology to help us track the source.
Its science, he said.
Schuster revealed the new effort during a Wisconsin Department
of Natural Resources public hearing on beach monitoring
Thursday at Sturgeon Bay High School. About 60 people
attended the open hearing, which was the second in two
days in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Many public comments centered on finding a source of bacteria.
Mary Ellen Ranney of Green Bay suggested suing cities
that discharge sewage into the lake, a widely suspected
source of bacteria on beaches.
Other suggestions at the hearing included:
Setting up a limited-range radio station like those
found in many national parks in southern Door County
to warn motorists of beach problems.
Monitoring inland lake beaches as well as the lakeshore.
DNR representatives said their current federal funding
doesnt address inland lakes.
Extending the testing program beyond Labor Day, when many
local residents still swim.
Testing the genetic nature of bacteria to determine its
source. DNR representatives said such tests would be expensive
and again, are not covered under the federal program.
Many members of the public also answered questionnaires
about which beaches in Door County are high priorities.
Whitefish Dunes State Park Beach and Nicolet Beach in
Peninsula State Park were consistently noted as among
the more important.
The DNR will use the information to formulate the states
plan for beach monitoring, which is required by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency under the federal BEACH
Act, where the countys grant money for testing comes
Toni Glymph, DNR environmental toxicologist, said she
will use the comments to determine how much grant money
Door County will receive.
The county health department has requested $79,000 for
a monitoring program to be run by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
graduate students using sewage treatment labs in Ephraim
and Sturgeon Bay.
County officials have been frustrated that the BEACH Act
money addresses only testing and not a source. But the
testing data could be used to track a source later.
The group that will convene in Manitowoc Wednesday will
seek help from experts that have already studied bacteria
sources in Milwaukee, Racine, Chicago and other areas.
The Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department
intends to catalog the exact geography and environmental
factors that could influence bacteria levels on every
They may also request that testing data include such factors
as weather conditions and amount of shorebirds present
to feed into a database.
Jamie Corbisier, a conservationist in Schusters
department, said the office has invited the Lake Michigan
Federation, The Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, officials
with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indiana, the Milwaukee
County Health Department, the Wisconsin Coastal Management
Program, and other experts.
No matter how the tests are conducted, the EPA is committed
to providing money for beach testing until at least 2005,
allowing for at least three years of testing data, Glymph