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Rain, waterfowl continue to cause closures at Minneapolis beaches

Updated: August 20, 2019 07:04 PM

The number of E. coli cases linked to an outbreak at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis has jumped again.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health said it has received 69 reported cases. That's up from 49 cases on Friday. Both beaches at Lake Nokomis are already closed for the season.

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Minneapolis park officials closed Wirth Beach due to E. coli contamination on Tuesday. It joins other city beaches that have already been closed for weeks. 

As waterfowl like geese and ducks migrate, they stop to enjoy lakes and beaches. 

When heavy rainfalls occur, everything gets washed down into the water. The combination of the two isn't good.

"Its been a challenging summer for us with our beach bacteria monitoring program," said Deb Pilger, the Director of Environmental Management for Minneapolis Parks and Recreation. 

Several Minneapolis beaches have been closed this summer due to high bacteria levels. New test results out Tuesday mean many will stay closed.

"We've had more beach closures this summer  than we have had in the history of our program," Pilger said. 

Pete Boulay is a climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources. 


More from KSTP:

MDH: 69 illnesses linked to swimming at Lake Nokomis; other Minneapolis beaches still closed

2 beaches at Lake Nokomis close due to E. coli outbreak involving 3 children

High levels of bacteria keep Minneapolis beaches closed


"We're 9.5 inches above normal this year, so this is the surplus we've had throughout the year," he said.

Boulay says we typically see a couple of weeks of dryness during the summer, but not this year.

"If you take from January through August, we're the second-wettest on record, there is only one year that beats us right now and that is 1892," Boulay said.

With the summer season coming to an end, parks and recreation will look at other deterrents to keep the beaches, and ultimately the water, cleaner next summer.

"We've been looking at specific waterfowl goose deterrents, but things that keep the geese away also keep the people away. Unfortunately, things with netting and poles and fencing and that doesn't create a very welcome environment for people to come and use the lake," Pilger said. 

Pilger said decoys could be another option to keep some of the geese and ducks, that cause more late summer problems, away next year.

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Credits

Jessica Miles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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