For the seventh weekend this summer, Grand Glaize Beach at Lake of the Ozarks State Park is closed to visitors. The repeated shutdown of Grand Glaize Beach, formerly Public Beach No. 2, has prompted some action in Jefferson City at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
For the seventh weekend this summer, Grand Glaize Beach at Lake of the Ozarks State Park is closed to visitors.
The repeated shutdown of Grand Glaize Beach, formerly Public Beach No. 2, has prompted some action in Jefferson City at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
When a water sample from one of the beach’s two test sites comes back from the lab with an E. coli bacteria population above the Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for swimming of 235 colonies per 100 milliliters of water, MoDNR closes the Grand Glaize Beach’s designated swimming area. The rest of Lake of the Ozarks State Park remains open to visitors.
“Just because a single sample is above the guidance that we follow from EPA, it doesn’t give an overall presence of the water quality in the overall lake,” MoDNR spokeswoman Renee Bungart said.
This week, a sample from the back of the beach’s cove, or the right side looking from the beach toward the water, tested at 275.5 colonies per 100 ml.
No one is certain what has caused E. coli levels at the public beach to be high enough for seven weeks of closure this summer. State Park employees have attempted to run off the geese that populate the beach area, with the idea that goose feces in the water causes high E. coli levels.
“I know that there are a significant number of geese that like to call that area of the lake home as well as other wildlife in the area. There is some speciation that the department is looking into to see if that is an option to determine what is the source of the bacteria,” Bungart said.
While trying to determine what species of animal generated E. coli bacteria can be expensive, speciation tests may help find the root cause of the beach closure. Or, the tests could do little to conclude speculation over the beach.
“There are many things that can contribute. It’s usually not just one issue,” Bungart said.
MoDNR plans to continue its efforts to reduce the beach’s goose population.
“We tried some coyote decoys earlier in the year and didn’t see huge results, so we’re going to look into what our other options are,” Bungart said. “Our Missouri State Parks Director (Bill Bryan) has been in contact with Lake of the Ozarks, as well as the Missouri Department of Conservation and some other agencies to see what are some options.”
One local organization involved in talks with MoDNR is the Citizens for Preservation of Lake of the Ozarks. The group of businesspersons and stakeholders have partnered together to promote the health of the lake.
The committee recently asked the U.S. Geological Survey to partner with Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Environmental Engineering Department and MoDNR to look at options for the beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park.
The committee is interested in a bid for studying, evaluating and a recommendation for addressing problems. The committee wants a plan that will ensure clean beaches for residents and visitors to Lake of the Ozarks, member Jim Divincen said.
It is not the first time the committee has worked with MoDNR. The committee provided the funding to purchase the coyote decoys.