Healthy Beaches, Healthy Lakes

Healthy coastal areas are of course important to fish and wildlife, but they are also vital to the quality of life in and the economy throughout the Great Lakes basin. For most people, the beach is a place for relaxing, making memories or connecting with nature. However, Great Lakes beaches, streams and rivers are threatened by pollution, contamination and a changing climate. This lesson explores threats to Great Lakes beaches like bacterial contamination, pathogens and harmful algal blooms as well as stewardship efforts like beach cleanup programs that help keep beaches safe and healthy. While humans often play a role in contributing to beach contamination, people work equally as hard to maintain and improve water quality.


  • Describe different sources of beach contamination.
  • Develop a hypothesis about the increase of beach closures.
  • Discuss several ways people can help protect beaches and water quality.

External Curriculum Materials


Subject Areas: ,
Grade Levels: ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: , ,