Environmental Impacts on Fecal Indicator Bacteria in 5 National Park Recreational Water Areas
Raspanti, Greg A.
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The National Park Service oversees 397 park units throughout the 50 states and US territories. Due to the high visitation, protecting the health of visitors is a top priority. Fecal contamination in recreational water can occur as a result of land use practices and weather related factors. The aim of this study is to investigate weather related factors and land use factors that contribute to fecal contamination in five National Park units. Overall, rainfall proved to be highly predictive of subsequent elevations in fecal bacteria. Specifically, same day rainfall and day prior to the sampling day rainfall showed the strongest association with elevated fecal bacteria levels. Seasonal variation of fecal bacteria was generally higher in the summer months. The land use variables were not highly predictive of fecal bacteria levels. The results of this study can be used by park managers to better predict variations in fecal contamination.