To develop a Virtual Beach (VB) model, one needs historical data on water quality from two or more beach seasons, together with potentially related environmental conditions, such as stream discharge, antecedent rainfall, wave height, waterfowl, etc… Depending on the beach, many if not all of these data will be available online, for free.
Water Quality & Beach Conditions
Historical water quality can be downloaded from EPA’s BEACON website – or from the state beach websites listed below. Depending on the state, field-collected sanitary survey data, such as turbidity, algae levels and gulls, may also be available. Note: If you have sanitary survey data for your beach, it is to your advantage to upload them to your state’s beach website. This will make building and maintaining VB models significantly easier.
- Illinois Beach Guard Viewable tables of E. coli data. Single-day summaries of sanitary survey results.
- Indiana Beach Guard Viewable tables of E. coli data. Single-day summaries of sanitary survey results.
- Michigan Beach Guard Viewable tables of E. coli data. Single-day summaries of sanitary survey results.
- Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Downloadable tables of E. coli + some sanitary survey data.
- Ohio Beach Guard: Viewable tables of E. coli data. Single-day summaries of sanitary survey results.
- Wisconsin Beach Health Downloadable tables of E. coli + sanitary survey data.
Both historical and real-time data on hydro-meteorological conditions, such as antecedent rainfall, gaged stream flow, lake levels and surface currents, can be accessed through the Environmental Data Discovery and Transformation (EnDDaT) portal.
Developed by the USGS Office of Water Information, EnDDaT can transform data to improve the predictive power of VB models; for example, summing rainfall or averaging stream flow over different time windows.
Models developed with VB 3.0 can access input data directly from EnDDaT. This seamless integration, together with VB 3.0’s advanced model-building tools, makes it possible to develop and deploy models that can be run anytime with little more than an Internet connection.
Beach Advisory and Closing Online Notification (BEACON)
Credit: U.S. EPA Office of Water
Wisconsin Beach Health
Credit: Wisconsin Beach Health Website Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Environmental Data Discovery and Transformation (EnDDaT)
Credit: USGS Center for Integrated Data Analytics