Two weeks ago, we published the second annual Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Beach Report.
While the results showed an overall improvement,Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River beaches met water quality standards more often in 2015,we also want to give recreational water users a closer look at their beaches. A naughty and nice list, so to speak.
Which beaches met recreational water quality standards more frequently? On the opposite end, which beaches frequently failed?
Because water quality data is still in the process of improving, after reading the list, please consider the important notes that follow as well.
Without further ado, here are the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence best and worst beaches in 2015. Did your local beach make the top 5?
- Lafayette Community Club – Duluth, Minnesota
- Bayview Campground – Bay Mills, Michigan
- Pig Pine Day Use Area – Bay Mills, Michigan
- Marquette South Beach – Marquette, Michigan
- McCarty’s Cove – Marquette, Michigan
- Sunnyside – Boulevard – Thunder Bay, Ontario
- Wisconsin Point 3 – Itasca, Wisconsin
- Barker’s Island Inner Beach – Superior, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Point 2 – Itasca, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Point 1 – Itasca, Wisconsin
- Central Beach – – Michigan City, Indiana
- Dunbar Beach – Michigan City, Indiana
- Kemil Beach – Michigan City, Indiana
- Lake View Beach – Michigan City, Indiana
- West Beach – Indiana Dunes – Michigan City, Indiana
- South Shore – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Buffington Harbor Beach – East Chicago, Indiana
- Jeorse Park Beach 1 – East Chicago, Indiana
- Jeorse Park Beach 2 – East Chicago, Indiana
- McKinley Beach – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Blair Street Park – Alpena, Michigan
- Bryant Park Beach – Traverse City, Michigan
- Burtchville Township Park – North Lakeport, Michigan
- Caseville County Park – Caseville Township, Michigan
- Cheboygan City Park – City of Cheboygan, Michigan
- Kalmo Beach – Val Caron, Ontario
- Amphitheatre Beach – Sudbury, Ontario
- Moonlight Beach – Sudbury, Ontario
- Bell Grove Beach – Sudbury, Ontario
- Canoe Club Beach – Sudbury, Ontario
- Kelleys Island – Kelleys Island, Ohio
- Port Bruce Provincial Park – Port Bruce, Ontario
- Rock Point – Dunnville, Ontario
- Long Point Provincial Park – Old Park Beach – Port Rowan, Ontario
- Long Point Provincial Park – New Park Beach – Port Rowan, Ontario
- West Belle River Beach – Belle River, Ontario
- Lakeview – Lorain, Ohio
- Miller Beach – Avon Lake, Ohio
- Villa Angela – Cleveland, Ohio
- Edson Creek – Vermilion, Ohio
- Darien Lake – Darien, New York
- Cedardale – Brighton, Ontario
- Brennan’s Beach – Pulaski, New York
- Victoria – Cobourg, Ontario
- Keuka Lake – Keuka Park, New York
- Camp Kenan Beach – Barker, New York
- Niagara Lazy Lakes Campground – Lockport, New York
- Pier 4 – Hamilton, Ontario
- Bayfront – Hamilton, Ontario
- Jones Beach – St. Catharines, Ontario
St. Lawrence River
- Wilson’s Bay – Cape Vincent, New York
- Potter’s Beach – Grindstone Island, New York
- Frink Dock at Frink Park – Clayton, New York
- Lake of the Isles – Wellesley Island, New York
- Parc des Cèdres – Aylmer, Quebec
- Parc Riverside Park – Carleton Place, Ontario
- Parc Centennial Park (The Catwalk) – Petawawa, Ontario
- Parc Island Park – Alexandria, Ontario
- Parc Riverside Park – Pembroke, Ontario
- Plage Cobden Beach – Cobden, Ontario
Top 5 lists are great but it’s important to keep in mind that currently, available water quality data isn’t completely accurate. For this reason, please consider the following notes.
- It’s a good thing when municipalities report beach water quality problems.Regions that report poor water quality days do a better job protecting public health and raising awareness for infrastructure needs. We applaud the regions that continue to monitor vulnerable waters and honestly report data to the public.
- Water quality “no data” days were not considered.For instance, there are regions where daily testing is not conducted following a heavy rainfall and where monitoring authorities re-sample until they “pass” water quality standards.
- Freshwater recreational water quality standards focus on bacteria levels.“Standards” are limits set by official agencies – usually governments – based on the advice of scientists. Other water quality concerns found in freshwater such as radiation, mercury, cyanobacteria (bluegreen algae), and viruses are not ignored but are more challenging to standardize across regions.
- Recreational water quality standards vary depending on the region.The US rec water quality standard is 126 counts of E. coli per 100 mL, whereas Ontario standards are 100 counts of E. coli.
- Monitoring frequency varies.During the swimming season, Toronto beaches are sampled daily but beaches in Sudbury are sampled weekly. There are also regions that only monitor once a month and cherry-pick the best results. With that being said, there could be beaches that had worse water quality results. Unfortunately, these results are unknown to the public.
- All of the best beaches were open for swimming 100% of the summer.However, there were more than 5 beaches for each region that met recreational water quality standards 100% of the time. Therefore, the total number of days open, as well as monitoring frequency were also taken into account when selecting the top five beaches.