Steven R. Schultze* - Michigan State University Geography Department
Leilei Qian - Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Dreelin Erin - Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Joan Rose - Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Lake St. Clair is a major freshwater lake located in North America's Great Lakes Chain that covers nearly 1,100 km2 in area and serves as a vital link between Lake Huron and Lake Erie as well as a popular spot for summer recreation. In 2010 Lake St. Clair had 219 of total days with actions exceeding the safe swimming standard, which is the highest number compared to other public beaches in the Great Lakes area. Potential sources of pathogen to the beaches may include combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, failing septic systems, wildlife and domesticated animals (including pets), storm water runoff. Additionally, the fecal contamination in beaches may change with temperature, rainfall and other factors. Water quality data were acquired from the Macomb County Department of Health, which has monitored indicator concentrations from various beaches daily starting in 1953. Daily climate data were acquired from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and river flow data acquired from USGS gauges along the Clinton River, a major tributary to Lake St. Clair. The objectives of this study are: 1) Compare water quality data trends using relevant quality standards and the violations to determine improvement or degradation; 2) Identify water quality differences across locations; 3) Explore the link between water quality and climate indicators. The expected result is to find a link between large pathogen loading events and hydroclimatological events improving our understanding of historical and current pathogen loading and safety.