Thursday, 15 August 2019 14:43

Brown's Beach Re-Opens

STILLWATER — Last weekend Brown’s Beach closed due to high levels of E. Coli detected in the water via the beach’s daily tests on Friday. The following Wednesday, the beach reopened at 10 a.m., as levels had fallen well below anything dangerous.

Ed Kinowski, Town Supervisor for Stillwater, said that they tested the water four times, and every time the levels of E. Coli were below 10 per 100 milliliters of water. The beach closed when levels exceeded 235.

Kinowski said that they could not be certain as to what happened, since they only test the beach and swimming area for Brown’s Beach, not the entire lake. However it is possible that a flock of geese landed in or near the water shortly before the test that closed the beach, and then left almost immediately, causing the levels of E. coli to fall back down into an acceptable range. 

Any animal’s droppings become a home for bacteria and illness like E. coli; however, geese and ducks are especially troublesome for beaches due to them landing in the water, defecating and then the bacteria being able to reproduce and spread through the water much more easily than on land.

Kinowski said that they are taking various measures to ensure public safety at Brown’s Beach. When the beach closed on Saturday, Kinowski and others set up a fence along the shoreline of the non-beach areas to stop the birds from walking from the grass where they eat to the water.

Additionally, Kinowski said that he and his grandchildren made around 350 feet of flagging for the beach. The flagging will be set up at night and run the length of the beach with wire slightly above the sand. The purpose of the flagging it to annoy the birds enough to stop them from swimming onto the beach from the lake.

In addition to the wires on the ground, the beach has already installed 90-pound fishing line running the length of the beach atop poles too high to be an issue for humans. The point of the line is to deter birds from landing on the sand.

In addition to the various wires and fences, there are dogs. Bob Morris, the beach’s manager and marine operator, occasionally drives his tractor at the birds and then walks with his dog near the water to chase them a bit further away. Kinowski said that their neighbors are welcome to do much the same. Anyone can walk their dog and help scare away the geese. 

“If they molt in the area, then they want to stay here,” Kinowski said. “So we have to disrupt their habitat.”

The last deterrent that Brown’s Beach currently has is various birdcall generators that each deter a specific type of bird, like seagulls or pigeons.

Until recently, there has been no such call for geese; however, the company Bird-X told Kinowski that they may have something, and Brown’s Beach is going to gain a distressed goose call to its deterrents on a trial basis soon.

The beach will be gaining one other deterrent on a trial basis: silhouettes of predators. Various silhouettes are available, but Kinowski said he was a bit worried about getting something like an alligator, since someone might then think it is a good idea to try to bring their own alligator to the beach to help. Instead, he is looking into getting a silhouette of a coyote or the like.

 Kinowski concluded by saying that he and the others were there to protect the interests of the people who were going to the beach, that it was important to continue what they were doing and that it was the entire town, both employees and volunteers, that keep Brown’s Beach open and running.

For more information, visit the Brown’s Beach page of the Town of Stillwater website, at, or call the Town Clerk at 518-664-6148, ext. 2.

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