Before everyone heads to a Madison beach this weekend, lets take a look at how to find information about water quality issues and beach closings in our area. In the wake of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s recent report entitled “Testing the Waters” on water quality at the nation’s most popular beaches in 2011, we should all be concerned about where we dip our toes and in which water bodies we swim.
Wisconsin residents, and visitors who swim at its beaches along the Great Lakes, should be especially interested in this report. Wisconsin’s beaches “ranked 25th in beach water quality out of 30 states and 11% of samples exceeded national standards for designated beach areas in 2011,” according to the NRDC’s report on Wisconsin beaches.
The beaches along the Madison lakes were not included in the NRDC study so, if you want information about water quality monitoring and daily reports on which beaches are closed or open, check the website of Public Health Madison and Dane County. This informative and easy to navigate web site updates the status of 13 Madison beaches, one UW beach, and two Dane County beaches. The site has links to sites that offer information about the other Dane County and DNR beaches and helpful information about ways we can all help keep our lakes clean and improve water quality.