Public comments and feedback are needed to help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources complete its annual listing of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior beaches.
Following significant water level changes in 2014, DNR intensified its annual review of Great Lakes beaches and updated the listing. DNR is now encouraging feedback on the latest list, which can be found by visiting the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) and searching “Great Lakes beaches.” The public comment process plays an important role as beach locations, local names and conditions may change over time. The updated maps show current beach locations for each coastal county.
Beach health efforts represent a combination of federal, state and local initiatives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires all Wisconsin beaches along the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shorelines to be identified and prioritized for water quality monitoring.
A “beach” is defined as any place where the public has recreational access to the water for swimming or other water-related activities. Some boat launches and natural areas are included. Inland beaches are not included in the federal program; however, several communities and state parks participate in these efforts voluntarily, posting information on the Beach Health website. These beaches are not included on the published list.
In preparing the annual beach list, DNR considers:
- Whether coastal beaches should be added to the list, particularly if there are new parks with beach areas;
- Water quality and whether historical data exists;
- Whether conditions surrounding the beach changed;
- How many people use the beach and how local residents refer to it;
- The location of the beach and the accuracy of its measurements;
- Whether “nowcasts” or other same-day tools are in place to improve the timing for posting advisories; and
- Whether the monitoring frequency is appropriate for the use, conditions and public notification tools in place.
Changes to the 2016 Beach List
- Robert E. LaSalle Park, Clay Banks. Water quality sampling will be added once per week for assessment.
- Pioneer Park, Kewaunee
- The name has been updated from the City of Kewaunee to Selner Park.
- The name has been updated from Lighthouse Vista to Father Marquette Memorial Park.
To maintain eligibility for funding under the federal Beach Act, state programs must provide an opportunity for public comment when changes to the list or monitoring program occur. Public comments on the listings and potential program changes should be emailed by the close of business on May 20 to Donalea Dinsmore, [email protected].