News Release 231

Swimming beaches at four state parks temporarily closed following heavy rainfall, bacteria levels

Volume 39-231 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JUNE 29, 2011 – Heavy rainfall earlier this week likely contributed to high bacteria levels confirmed at four state park swimming beaches, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Swimming beaches at Cuivre River and Finger Lakes state parks have been closed because the results of water samples taken Monday showed bacteria levels above the department’s standard for state park beaches.

Grand Glaize Beach at Lake of the Ozarks State Park, also known as Public Beach #2, remains closed because of elevated bacteria levels. 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 also open and available to visitors.

Even though the bacteria levels at Mark Twain State Park were well below the department’s single-sample standard for bacteria, the beach has been closed because the overall geometric mean exceeds the department’s standard for state park beaches.

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 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. All of the parks affected by closings this week were in the path of thunderstorms Sunday and early Monday that dropped considerable rainfall.

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 http://bit.ly/MoStateParksBeachStatus as well as mostateparks.com. Signs indicating the status of the beaches are posted at the beaches as well.

The beaches at Wakonda and Lake Wappapello state parks are temporarily closed due to earlier storm debris or flooding. 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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