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Bacteria levels up in Maumee Bay State Park waters

Bacteria levels up in Maumee Bay State Park waters
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 8:12 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Water quality has been a problem in Maumee Bay State Park for years, and once again the advisory signs are up that recommend vulnerable people avoid swimming.

Those that frequent the state park know the culprit behind the high levels of E. coli bacteria, and if don’t... be warned, the answer is gross.

“We attribute it to the high goose population that we have here in the park, we have a lot of geese,” said Donovan Workman, the Park Manager at Maumee Bay. “Obviously, their fecal matter enters the water and that pollutes the water and that creates the higher bacterial level.”

Looking up and down the inland beach, the evidence is everywhere.

“I wish they would be better about cleaning up,” Kelly Knight told us, a frequent visitor at Maumee Bay State Park. “You know, along the shoreline it’s enough that you got to watch where you step constantly. It’s always a hot mess. I don’t know what they can do, you know, but better cleanup I think would be real nice.”

The water is tested daily by the University of Toledo from May through September, and generally the Lake Erie beach is cleaner than the inland one. “We have a lot more wind and water movement out there,” explained Workman. “We don’t have the problems out there as much as we do the inland lake where it’s more stagnant water.”

In an effort to limit the number of geese around the inland lake, tall grass is now being grown along most of the shores, but that may take a few years to really show results.

“It’s basically to scare the geese away,” Workman told us. “They don’t like the tall grass; they think there’s predators in the grass. So the long term goal is to have this taller habitat grass, and it’ll keep the geese away and hopefully drive the goose population down.”

They will keep some areas mowed near the water for fishermen, but it’s important to check the sign each visit because it may change from day to day.

“You can also go on a website called Beachguard” explained Workman. “You can get it setup to notify your phone daily with what the levels are throughout the entire state, not just Maumee Bay State Park. All the beaches are on Beachguard.”

As of Wednesday, June 22nd, the Water Quality Advisory was lifted for the Lake Erie beach, but remains in effect for the inland lake. You can check the quality of the water daily at this link: https://publicapps.odh.ohio.gov/beachguardpublic/

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