Missouri officials will advise against swimming rather than close beaches at state parks when tests determine bacteria are high.
The changes come after Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation this month dealing with the Department of Natural Resources. The law took effect immediately.
Officials take samples each week at state park beaches during the recreation season. Beaches were closed when tests showed high E. coli. Now signs will be posted that state "Swimming is Not Recommended." A beach still can be closed when there is a documented health risk.
Supporters say the advisory better informs the public about actual water conditions and protects them without unduly alarming them. An environmental advocate says a sign does not prevent people from entering the water.