Crow Wing County recently received a $13,550 challenge grant from the Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources to conduct water quality assessments on 20 area lakes, which range in size from 500 to 1,000 acres.
A grant in 2008 allowed for the assessment of lakes more than 1,000 acres in size. The Initiative Foundation and several area lake associations provided the required 50 percent matching funds for this grant.
Utilizing this grant, the Land Services Department will coordinate water quality studies on the following lakes: Upper South Long, Ossawinnamakee, Gilbert, Rabbit, Clearwater, Upper & Lower Mission, Portage-Crooked-Hanks chain, Nokay, Rush, Emily, Lower Hay, Upper Hay, Ruth, Smith, Camp, Lower Cullen, and Red Sand. Lakes assessed in 2008 include Bay, Big Trout, Borden, Cedar, Cross, Gull, Edward, Hubert, Lower South Long, Mille Lacs, North Long, Pelican, Platte, Roosevelt, Round, Serpent, and Whitefish.
“This grant will begin the development of a county-specific database to measure water quality in our lakes,” said Mitch Brinks, water protection specialist with the county.
The assessments compile and analyze data derived from water samples collected during the years by volunteers and then delivered to an environmental laboratory for analysis. Tests for phosphorus and chlorophyll are used to determine the amount of nutrient loading and algae in the water.
Transparency readings are also taken using a secchi disk.