Lake Monitoring and Assessment

The Metropolitan Council’s lake monitoring and assessment program gives us and our partners water quality data and information to help effectively manage the lakes of the region. The Citizen-Assisted Monitoring Program (CAMP) efficiently expands our regional coverage and addresses local priorities while engaging citizen scientists who advocate for water quality.

Both our lake program and CAMP generate data to determine lake water quality conditions and water quality trends. The data are also used to rank the lakes annually on an A – F grading system that allows the public to more easily visualize the water quality of a lake relative to other lakes in the region. 

Local governments, researchers, and others use this information to inform decisions about projects and programs needed to protect or restore lake water quality. State agencies use the information to evaluate lake water quality conditions and ultimately to decide whether a lake is impaired or not. Lake monitoring information helps all stakeholders prioritize lake protection and restoration efforts.


Cititzen-Asissted Monitoring Program

Our lake monitoring program

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services staff typically conducts bi-weekly monitoring (April through October) of approximately 6 to 12 metro area lakes per year, on a rotating schedule. We regularly monitor lakes for common water quality issues and characteristics that affect the region’s lakes including:
  • Excessive nutrient enrichment. An increase in phosphorus and nitrogen in lake water causes increased aquatic plant growth and algae blooms, which in turn can deplete oxygen and negatively affect recreation and aquatic life habitat.
  • Chloride pollution, which is due to the runoff of applied salts on the region’s roadways and paved surfaces.
  • Basic lake characteristics such as water clarity and vertical depth profiles of dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, pH, and turbidity.
We may conduct special monitoring projects on individual lakes when conditions warrant more intensive monitoring. For example, a lake's degrading water quality trend or the need to determine baseline water quality conditions can lead to a more intensive lake and watershed study. We can provide assistance for special monitoring on lakes in the region on an "as-needed" basis.

More information

For more information about our lake monitoring and assessment program
Brian Johnson
[email protected]