News Release 238

Three state park swimming beaches reopen following low bacteria levels

Volume 39-238 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JULY 7, 2011 – Swimming beaches at Cuivre River, Finger Lakes and Mark Twain state parks have been reopened after results of water samples taken Tuesday showed bacteria levels had dropped significantly below the department’s acceptable levels for state park beaches.

Even though the bacteria levels at Grand Glaize Beach at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, also known as Public Beach #2, were minimal, the beach remains closed because the overall geometric mean exceeds the department’s standard for state park beaches. Visitors to the park can still enjoy the park’s Public Beach #1, which is located in Kaiser. All other facilities at Lake of the Ozarks State Park are open and available to visitors.

The water at all designated beaches in the state park system is sampled weekly during the recreational season by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to determine suitability for swimming. Water quality can be determined to be unsuitable for swimming based on either the single sample taken earlier in the week, or by the geometric mean, which is a mathematical value that takes into consideration results from the current week plus the results taken during the previous weeks.

The sample test results indicate a snap shot of the water quality taken at the beaches at a specific time; however, a single sample does not provide an overall sense of the water quality in the lake where the beach is located. Water samples are taken to check for E. coli, a common indicator species for bacteria.

Higher bacteria levels are often associated with heavy rains that result in runoff from adjacent lands. However, there are a number of possibilities that can contribute to higher bacteria, and chances are no single source is the cause.

Once tests indicate the bacteria levels are within the standard suitable for swimming, the beaches will reopen. Information about current status of beaches is available on the website at mostateparks.com. Signs indicating the status of the beaches are posted at the beaches as well.

The beach at Wakonda State Park is temporarily closed due to earlier storm debris. The public will be notified when the beach is reopened. Lewis and Clark State Park, including its beach, is closed because of high water. Most of the other facilities at these parks remain open and available to the public. A list of facility advisories is available at mostateparks.com.

Missouri's state parks and historic sites offer something to suit everyone's taste - outdoor adventure, great scenery and a bit of history. With Missouri’s 85 state parks and historic sites, the possibilities are boundless.

For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites and swimming beaches, visit mostateparks.com.

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