OSHKOSH - All Lake Michigan beaches in the area were clear and open today, but that hasn't been the case all summer and so UW Oshkosh is sharing in some federal money to redesign some of the beaches. High bacteria levels forced closures and swim bans.
For the last three years research scientists like Nilay Sheth have been monitoring area beaches. They've done so with EPA grant money for UW Oshkosh.
"Its bacteria testing, pretty much, in layman's terms, we collect a specific amount of water samples," Sheth told FOX 11.
Sheth's co-worker Kim Busse said they've found high levels of E. coli on some beaches, especially in those with poor storm water drainage.
"Draining right onto our beaches where kids and other beach-goers swim," said Busse.
Once that bacteria builds up, it can pose a health risk to those swimmers, forcing beach closures.
Up until now, it's been all about the research, but this latest $1 million grant will allow them to take action.
"The data collected will be used for mitigation strategies for the selected eight beaches," said Sheth.
The eight beaches are in Marinette, Algoma and Manitowoc, as well as in the southern part of the state.
Busse told us there are several routes the scientists can take, like planting extra dune grasses to help filter storm water.
"They can create infiltration beds where the water drains down first, is treated and then released," said Busse.
Keeping area beaches safe isn't just important for people's health, it's also important for the local economy's health.
"Especially in our local communities that border Lake Michigan. We do know there is a monetary value for each beach-goer," said Busse.
The project also allows the university to employ 30 to 40 research students at a time.
"It gives the students the experience and knowledge for future purposes," said Sheth.
Those students will run tests through next summer when they plan to start implementing their ideas to make the beaches better.
The grant UW Oshkosh received is one of seven given out by the EPA for this initiative throughout Wisconsin and Michigan. In total, $2.6 million will be handed out.
A 42-year-old Shawano County man was arrested after a drug bust uncovered bath salts and marijuana.
A woman who worked at an assisted living facilitywas sentenced to 30 days in jail for taking nude photos of residents.
Gov. Scott Walker says a historic tax credit bill he has signed into law will help revitalize downtowns across Wisconsin.
The Sartori Co. announced Wednesday it will spend $14 million to renovate two plants, adding jobs in the process.
A 38-year-old man is behind bars after allegedly peeping into windows in a Kaukauna neighborhood.
Photos of a fire on Watson St., the main street in downtown Ripon, Dec. 11, 2013.