Minnesota's environment is changing, and its 10,000 lakes will be affected. Some of those effects are already readily apparent including changing fish populations, fewer native aquatic plants, the presence of invasive species, and reductions in water clarity. But long before these obvious differences appear, the biological, physical and chemical changes have been occurring. These incremental changes begin small and grow until they combine to alter a lake's character. By the time humans have noticed the differences, the opportunity to stop or slow change has passed. The lake that once was may never be again.
The Section of Fisheries of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is leading a statewide, collaborative effort to develop a system to monitor and record biological and chemical changes that occur in a sample of lakes that are representative of the state's most common lakes. Ultimately, the information gathered via our monitoring efforts will be used to develop management approaches that can mitigate or minimize negative impacts caused by residential development and agriculture, aquatic plant removal, invasive species and climate change.