The summer of 2016 marked the first of a two year project funded by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to gather data on Kettle River Watershed lakes and streams. Ten lakes and five streams were monitored in Carlton County, and a variety of parameters were measured.
The main nutrient we are concerned about in our lakes is phosphorus. Phosphorus enrichment in water can result in a variety of negative impacts, such as excessive plant growth, algae blooms, and lowering of oxygen levels. Chlorophyll a (Chl-a) is also measured. Chlorophyll a is the main pigment in algae and is measured to determine the quantity of algae found in the lake. Algae is a normal component of water bodies, but high concentrations can result in low levels of dissolved oxygen and reduced recreation suitability. Secchi disk readings measure the depth of light penetration into the water. This parameter often has a direct correlation to the levels of phosphorus and chlorophyll a found in the water body.
For our streams, there are a variety of concerns including turbidity, bacteria and nutrients. Since relatively little data is available for the waters in the Kettle River watershed, many parameters were measured this year to create a baseline.
Many thanks to our citizen lake volunteer monitors and out Conservation Corps Apprentice who helped collect this very important data!