Routine testing of creeks in the Bear Creek basin has found coliform bacteria contamination that makes swimming or wading unsafe, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments reported.
Select creeks are tested and high levels of bacteria are common in late summer when water is low and temperatures are high. Fecal coliform bacteria can come from pets, livestock, wild animals, leaking septic systems and illegal dumping.
Among the creeks tested, Neil, Walker and Ashland creeks, all in the Ashland area; Bear Creek downstream from Talent; Griffin Creek from Medford to the creek's mouth; and Jackson Creek from Central Point to the mouth exceeded state bacteria standards for contact recreation such as swimming or wading.
People should be careful when contacting any waterways and especially avoid ingestion, which may cause illness, and contact with open wounds, which may cause infection. Very young children should be supervised so an adult can make sure they don't swallow water.