2 of nation's cleanest beaches in Minn.? After flooding, maybe not

The rain that flooded Duluth last week also flushed an unprecedented quantity of dirt, pollution and bacteria into Lake Superior. All that nasty debris may have sullied two of the 12 cleanest beaches in America.
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Quick -- where are the nation's cleanest beaches? California? Yep -- three of the top 12 are there.

But two of the top 12 are -- or were, before the flooding -- in Minnesota, according to a new report from the National Resources Defense Council, which gave the dozen beaches a "5-star" rating.. The beaches are not far from each other in the Duluth area:

– Park Point Franklin Park / 13th Street South Beach Park Point

– Lafayette Community Club Beach

CNN has a look at America's cleanest and dirtiest beaches.

It's not immediately clear how the flooding might affect the ranking of those Minnesota strands among the nation's finest.

But satellite photos show flooding last week dumped a wide swath of mud and muck streaming into the lake from the Duluth harbor almost all the way to the Apostle Islands, the Star Tribune reports.

“It’s unprecedented, really. No one I’ve talked to has ever seen the lake like this,’’ Erik Brown, acting director of the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth, says in the Duluth News Tribune. “And it wasn’t just on the top. We had people out on the water taking samples and it was the same right down to the bottom at 100 feet deep,” Brown said. “They were recording essentially zero light penetration from the top to the bottom.”

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