Geese Blamed for High Bacteria at Grand Lake

Jun 19, 2014

Duct tape holds a warning sign on a trash can at the Bernice Beach
Credit File Photo

BERNICE, Okla. (AP) — Officials say geese are the suspected culprits in the elevated levels of E.coli that's shut down a swimming area of Grand Lake State Park in northeastern Oklahoma.

The Grand River Dam Authority says testing shows that the high levels of bacteria found at the Grand Lake State Park swimming area at Bernice contained DNA from geese and possibly another avian source. The testing excluded humans or cattle as the source of the bacteria.

Officials say the stretch of shoreline at Bernice is a favorite nesting area for many geese, and that recent rainfall likely caused waste from the birds to be washed into the water.

The swimming area has been closed since June 3 and officials say it will remain closed until the bacteria levels return to a safe range.