"It’s late in the afternoon, late in October, and we are the only boat that appears to be out on vast Muskeg Bay, or maybe the whole southern basin, of Lake of the Woods. The temperature is in the twenties, and a stiff breeze from the southwest sends endless waves wandering toward us."
That's Greg Seitz, a writer for the St. Croix Watershed Research Station and publisher of St. Croix 360. He and two research station scientists, Adam Heathcote and Mark Edlund, along with MPCA's Cary Hernandez, braved the October cold on Lake of the Woods to retrieve equipment that was monitoring water quality in the lake over the entire open-water season.
"Most of the equipment has been out here since June, taking measurements of a variety of water quality variables every 30 minutes, from temperature to oxygen levels and more. The devices made from PVC pipe collect sediment, gathering a record of the amount and type of nutrients, algae, and other material suspended in the water."
Despite being in a region with low development and little agriculture, Lake of the Woods has been plagued by harmful algae blooms. The researcher are hoping to find out why.
Read Greg's article about their cold, wet trip to collect water quality data.
Photo courtesy of Greg Seitz.