National Lakes Assessment

Person in boat on lake gathering water sample in large plastic syringe.In 2017, Minnesota participated in the U.S. EPA's national lakes assessment, in collaboration with:

  • U.S. Forest Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • National Park Service
  • Minnesota's Departments of Natural Resources, Health, and Agriculture
  • Red Lake and White Earth Nations
  • Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

Nationally, the survey included 1,000 lakes; Minnesota drew 42 lakes for the statistically based survey effort and added eight lakes to allow for state-based assessment. One hundred lakes were also added from EPA’s randomized list of lakes to allow for ecoregion-based assessments (50 per major ecoregion) in Minnesota.

This collaboration and the various survey add-ons were the basis for several “value-added” topics:

  • Analysis of emerging contaminants in 50 lakes (MPCA)
  • Analysis of sediment chemistry in 30 lakes (MPCA)
  • Pesticide analysis in 50 lakes (MN Dept. of Agriculture)
  • Herbicide analysis in 150 lakes for glyphosate (MN Dept. of Agriculture)
  • Zooplankton analysis in 150 lakes (MN Dept. of Natural Resources)
  • Blue-green algal toxin (microcystin and anatoxin-a) in 150 lakes (lab analysis by MN Dept. of Health, reporting by MPCA)
  • Water chemistry and profiles in 150 lakes (MPCA)

For more details on the national study, visit the EPA web site.