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Water: Beaches

Meetings and Events: Great Lakes Beach Conference: 2001

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.


The Great Lakes Beach Conference was held at the Midland Hotel in Chicago from February 6 through 8, 2001. The conference was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 and the City of Chicago. The focus of the conference was the science and technology of beach monitoring and closure, beach management, and resources to support beach programs. The 248 registered participants consisted of environmental and public health officials, local beach managers, regulators, community groups, research personnel, and others interested in beach management and protection. The conference provided numerous networking opportunities for participants to share information about their programs and learn what others are doing. In addition, 14 posters covering many aspects of modeling, monitoring, public outreach, economic impacts, source identification, and even a "Bacteria Game" were available to the participants throughout the conference. The conference agenda is below.

A welcome and overview panel began the conference by discussing the current regulatory, physical, and biological situation of the Great Lakes. Mr. William Abolt of the City of Chicago Department of Environment and Mr. David Ullrich, Acting Regional Administrator for EPA Region 5, welcomed conference participants. Both pledged the commitment of their agencies to protecting the Great Lakes beaches.

City of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley then spoke during the conference luncheon. Mayor Daley indicated that the city's beaches are not only environmentally but also economically important to the city. He discussed the progress the city has made in the last 15 years to improve its beaches and restore their recreational uses. He also discussed the city's commitment to continuing the protection and restoration of the beaches.

The conference format included technical presentations with question-and-answer periods for the entire group and breakout sessions to discuss specific issues associated with the technical presentation. Topics included science and technology, regulatory and nonregulatory approaches, management of beaches, and public outreach and communication.

The breakout sessions provided opportunities for more interactive discussions focused on developing specific recommendations for policy, regulatory, and technical needs to support beach management programs on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, and inland beaches.

On February 7, David Knight of the Great Lakes Seaway Magazine spoke during dinner. Mr. Knight discussed some of the economic benefits of the Great Lakes and focused on the thriving Great Lakes cruise industry.

After the technical breakout sessions were concluded, recommendations from each session were compiled for the lake watershed breakout sessions on February 8. These sessions included individuals participating or interested in the research, regulation, or management of a specific watershed. The watershed groups reviewed the recommendations and determined which were most applicable to their watershed and which to present during the Funding Sources and Capacity Building Overview and Panel Discussion. The watershed groups also identified additional recommendations that they see as a priority for funding in their watershed.

At the conclusion of the conference, Rick Hoffman of EPA presented a technical workshop on the federal beach bill to about 70 people. This workshop provided conference participants with the opportunity to understand the purpose of the beach bill and determine how it may apply to their group.

As a result of the conference, many participants have a better understanding of additional technical and funding resources to implement or improve their programs.


Great Lakes Beach Conference 2001: Agenda and Speaker List
Date and Time Topic/Session Speaker and Organization
Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Morning Presentations (zip) (1.6 MB)
10a–12p Welcome and Overview Panel Judy Beck, U.S. EPA
Welcome from the City of Chicago Bill Abolt, City of Chicago
Welcome from U.S. EPA David Ullrich, U.S. EPA
"The New Beach Act" Jim Hanlon, U.S. EPA
"Great Lakes Beaches: Protect the Legacy" Janet Vail, GVSU
"Physical Processes Affecting Beach Use" Roger Gauthier, ACOE
Local public health perspective: The City of Chicago Experience Bill Abolt, City of Chicago
"A Model Bathing Beach Program for Local Health Departments" Jack Kurowski, City of Lorain
Jill Lis, Cuyahoga County
"Reaching for Beach Health: Citizens' Solutions" Cameron Davis, LMF
Afternoon Presentations (zip) (1.1 MB)
130—330p Science and Technology Technical Overview
and Question/Answer
Annette Ashizawa, Ph.D., ATSDR
Understanding health risks Dr. Michael Beach, CDC
"Beach Monitoring: Current Methods and Limitations" Dr. Richard Whitman, USGS
New monitoring methods Dr. Al Dufour, U.S. EPA, ORD
"Evaluating Water Quality at Public Beaches for the Protection of Public Health Donna Francy, USGS
4–5p Science and Technology Break-out Sessions
Health Risks Dr. Michael Beach, CDC
Current Monitoring Dr. Richard Whitman, USGS
New Monitoring Donna Myers, USGS
Predictive Modeling Donna Francy, USGS
Wednesday, February 7
Morning Presentations (zip) (1.5 MB)
8–10:30a Regulatory and Non-regulatory Approaches
Technical Overview and Questions/Answers
David Rockwell, GLNPO
"U.S. EPA's BEACH Program" Rick Hoffmann, U.S. EPA
"Illinois' Efforts to Protect Beach Patrons" Pat Metz, IDPH
E. Coli Task Force Kathy Luther, IDEM/ECTF
"Recreational Water Quality Guidelines: The Canadian Approach" Will Robertson, Health Canada
11a—12p Regulatory and Non-regulatory Approaches Break-out Sessions
Regulations and Standards Joe O'Connor, IDPH
Non-regulatory Approaches Kathy Luther, IDEM/ECTF
Lake Levels Roger Gauthier, ACOE
Roles of NGOs Cameron Davis, LMF
Afternoon Presentations (zip) (3.6 MB)
130–330p Management of Beaches/Public Outreach and Communication
Technical Overview and Question/Answers
Shannon Briggs, MDEQ
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Dale Engquist, NPS
Management of Sources and Exposure Pathways Arnie Leder, U.S. EPA
"Macomb County (Mich.) Health Department
Surface Water Improvement and Monitoring (SWIM) Team"
Gary White, Macomb County
"Community Outreach Related to City of Milwaukee
Public Beaches: Water Quality Advisories and Pollution Prevention"
Mary Ellen Bruesch, Milwaukee
City of Chicago Example Marcia Jimenez, Chicago
4–5p Management/Public Outreach and Communication Break-out Sessions
Establishing a Risk Communication/Notification Program Dale Engquist, NPS
Assessing Your Site: Identifying Sources of Contaminants Arnie Leder, U.S. EPA
Collaboration/Partnerships Mary Ellen Bruesch, Milwaukee
Establishing a Monitoring Program Gary White, Macomb County
Thursday, February 8
Morning Presentations (zip) (1.6 MB)
8–10a Lake Watershed Break-out Sessions
Lake Erie Laura Evans, U.S. EPA
Lake Huron Jim Bredin, MDEQ
Lake Michigan Janet Vail, GVSU
Lake Ontario Richard Coleates, U.S. EPA
Lake St. Clair Laura Lodisio, U.S. EPA
Lake Superior Steve Elmer, WDHFS
1030a–12p Funding Sources and Capacity Building Overview
and Panel Discussion
Gary Gulezian, U.S. EPA
Federal funding through the Beach Bill Rick Hoffmann, U.S. EPA
Federal funding through EPA Mary Pat Tyson, U.S. EPA
Foundations Dave Rankin, GL Protection Fund
"Clean Michigan Initiative" Shannon Briggs, MDEQ
"U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Assistance Programs" Jan Miller, ACOE
E. Coli Task Force approach Mike Kuss, IDEM/ECTF
Networking Overview Judy Beck, U.S. EPA
1p–330p Optional Technical Workshop on the Federal Beach Bill Rick Hoffmann, U.S. EPA

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