Great Lakes Beach, Tributary, and Nearshore Water Quality

Hydrologic and Hydrodynamic Data and Model Assimilation

Part of J.P. the Smithe's Webpage Portfolio


This project is no longer active and has not been since the close of the season in 2014. The 2014 sampling season was complete as of 10/8/2014.

Beaches are a socially and culturally significant part of the Great Lakes. We are excited that you have expressed interest in the work we are doing to ensure that public health is protected while you enjoy these treasures with your family and friends.

In order to protect public health, the amount of bacteria in the water at public beaches is monitored throughout the swimming season. This monitoring is regularly carried out by local county health departments but, due to limitations of analysis methods, test results cannot be obtained instantly and beach closures and advisories are commonly based on day-old bacterial monitoring results. The need to advance predictive ability and move beyond the current closure protocol is essential to protecting human health.

As a continuation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Oceans and Human Health Initiative, and with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, scientists from CIGLR (Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research) and NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) are developing a water quality forecasting system for use at targeted beaches throughout the Great Lakes. The system will be intended for use by local authorities to improve their capability to forecast water quality conditions which may lead to a violation of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) based water quality standards and present a risk to human health. These predictions will have the potential to supplement, or even replace, the conventional beach closure decision strategies based on day-old fecal indicator bacteria monitoring results.

We hope that this website will be a resource for you to learn more about nearshore water quality, fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), and beach closures.

Go to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's home page Go to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab home page Go to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative home page Go to the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research home page