National Lakes Assessment Project (NLAP)

Minnesota’s participation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) 2012 NLA involved a collaborative approach that included USEPA, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), MN Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), MN Department of Health (MDH), MN Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Red Lake and White Earth Native American Bands. A total of 1,000 lakes was included in the national survey. Minnesota drew 42 lakes as a part of the initial draw for this statistically based national survey effort and added 8 lakes to allow for state-based assessment. All 50 lakes received the national level of assessment and contributed to both the state-based and national assessments. In addition, 100 lakes were added from USEPA’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)
  • Pesticide analysis in 50 lakes and triazine analysis in all 150 lakes (MDA)
  • Zooplankton analysis in all 150 lakes (MDNR)
  • Blue-green algal toxin (microcystin) in all 150 lakes (lab analysis by MDH, reporting by MPCA)
  • Water chemistry and profiles in all 150 lakes, including comparisons among 2007 and 2012 results (MPCA)

2012 statewide reports

A series of reports is being drafted based on the 2012 NLA. These reports or their links will be posted here as they are completed.

Minnesota map of 150 lakes included in Minnesota’s 2012 NLA sampling

  • PDF icon National Lakes Assessment 2012: Overview of Minnesota’s 2012 Survey
    MPCA’s plan to sample 150 lakes as a part of the 2012 NLA was ambitious. Weather conditions in summer 2012 were challenging and included record rainfall events in June and transitioned to severe drought over much of the state by mid-summer. This resulted in numerous lakes being dry or too shallow to sample over much of the state.
  • PDF icon Pharmaceuticals and Endocrine Active Chemicals in Minnesota Lakes
    Many previous studies have established that a variety of pharmaceuticals, personal care products (PPCPs), and other chemicals are commonly detected at low concentration in rivers and lakes. However, this was the first study to analyze this suite of chemicals in randomly-selected lakes. Forty-seven of the 50 lakes sampled had at least one of the chemicals that were tested for. The insect repellent DEET was found in 76 percent of the lakes sampled, making this chemical the most frequently discovered.
  • PDF icon Pesticides in Minnesota Lakes [2012] (Minn. Dept of Agriculture)
    Minnesota was the only state in the 2012 NLA to include comprehensive testing for pesticides as a part of the study. Fifty-two lakes were analyzed using the MDA laboratory’s gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) advanced methods for 132 different pesticide compounds. Nineteen different pesticide compounds were detected, with atrazine being discovered most frequently in 67 percent of samples. A comparison of 2012 and 2007 pesticide data notes a decrease in the detection frequency of atrazine and related compounds.
  • PDF icon Zooplankton Communities in Minnesota lakes
    As a part of the 2012 National Lakes Assessment,  zooplankton were sampled in 149 randomly selected lakes across Minnesota. Laboratory identification, data analysis, and reporting were conducted by the Department of Natural Resources. These data provided a unique opportunity to describe zooplankton communities in Minnesota at a statewide and ecoregion basis and as a function of nutrient enrichment. Results from this work contribute to our understanding of the ecology of Minnesota’s lakes.
  • PDF icon National, State and Ecoregion-based Approach
    The MPCA partnered with several state agencies, Native American bands, and federal agencies to conduct the 2012 National Lakes Assessment for Minnesota. Several reports have been completed, while others are underway. This PowerPoint, presented at the October 2014 Minnesota Water Resources Conference, provides an overview of the survey and provides examples of how this data is used at the national, state, and ecoregion scales for describing lake condition.
  • PDF icon Aquatic macrophyte assessments
    Aquatic plants are an essential part of the overall ecology of lakes. The 2012 NLA included rapid assessment of aquatic plant communities at randomized sites in the nearshore area of study lakes nationwide. This report shares findings for 50 Minnesota lakes and makes recommendations for modifying the assessment method in the 2017 NLA. (April 2015)
  • PDF icon Water chemistry, lake morphometry and watershed characteristics
    Minnesota has among the most diverse population of lakes in the U.S. The randomized 2012 data of the National Lakes Assessment provide a detailed look at lake and watershed characteristics, water chemistry, and physical measurements for Minnesota lakes. Regional patterns and statistical summaries provide a comprehensive description of Minnesota’s lake resource and contribute to its management. (January 2016)
  • PDF icon Analysis of physical habitat condition indices
    The complexity and extent of near-shore riparian natural vegetation, woody debris and substrates influence the health of aquatic and terrestrial animal communities. Nearshore habitat assessments in the 2007 and 2012 NLA surveys were used to determine the health of shoreland areas in Minnesota lakes. Among the findings in this study was that Minnesota lakes were in significantly better shape with regard to the degree of human disturbance than Michigan and Wisconsin lakes. (May 2015)

Lake-specific reports

These brief reports summarize data for one or more lakes that were included in the study. These reports are prepared as a service to study collaborators, including property owners that have granted access to the lakes. This page will be populated as reports are created.

More information

For more details on the national study: HTML icon National Lakes Assessment (U.S. EPA)

For additional information about this project, please contact Lee Engel at 651-757-2339, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Archived reports

These lake information sheets contain a brief description of each lake sampled for the Environmental Protection Agency National Lake Assessment Program: general information about lake area and depth, watershed area and land use composition, lake dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles, and water quality data from the survey. The typical range of water quality values for each ecoregion is provided as a basis for comparison. Data tables will be periodically updated as more data becomes available.

County Lake DNR Lake ID EPA NLAP ID
Becker PDF icon Straight 3001000 NLA06608-0366
Becker PDF icon Flat 3024200 NLA06608-1134
Becker PDF icon Pickerel 3028700 NLA06608-0110
Beltrami PDF icon Cass 4003000 NLA06608-0403
Blue Earth PDF icon Eagle (North) 7006001 NLA06608-0279
Cass PDF icon Pine Mountain 11041100 NLA06608-0494
Cass PDF icon Long 11048000 NLA06608-0942
Clay PDF icon North Mayfield 14002900 NLA06608-0558
Cook PDF icon Musquash 16010400 NLA06608-1274
Cook PDF icon Aspen 16020400 NLA06608-0890
Cook PDF icon Vesper 16041400 NLA06608-0782
Cook PDF icon Richey 16064300 NLA06608-1018
Crow Wing PDF icon Lookout 18012300 NLA06608-0771
Crow Wing PDF icon Crow Wing 18015500 NLA06608-0990
Crow Wing PDF icon Pelican 18030800 NLA06608-0238
Crow Wing PDF icon Mayo 18040800 NLA06608-1262
Douglas PDF icon Victoria 21005400 NLA06608-0622
Douglas PDF icon Darling 21008000 NLA06608-1390
Douglas PDF icon Red Rock  21029100 NLA06608-1454
Douglas PDF icon Fanny 21033600 NLA06608-0686
Hennepin PDF icon Nokomis 27001900 NLA06608-0679
Itasca PDF icon Long (Main Bay) 31026601 NLA06608-0958
Itasca PDF icon Upper Hatch 31077000 NLA06608-0190
Kanabec PDF icon Spring 33002700 NLA06608-1283
Kandiyohi PDF icon Woodcock 34014100 NLA06608-1239
Kandiyohi PDF icon Nest 34015400 NLA06608-0215
Kandiyohi PDF icon Norway 34025100 NLA06608-1383
Lake PDF icon Becoosin 38047200 NLA06608-0526
Lake PDF icon August 38069100 NLA06608-1038
Le Sueur PDF icon Upper Sakatah 40000200 NLA06608-1303
Lincoln PDF icon North Ash 41005500 NLA06608-1111
McLeod PDF icon South 43001400 NLA06608-0167
Mahnomen PDF icon Allen 44015700 NLA06608-0211
Martin PDF icon Okamanpeedan 46005100 NLA06608-0759
Meeker PDF icon Jennie 47001500 NLA06608-1175
Otter Tail PDF icon West Leaf 56011400 NLA06608-0878
Otter Tail PDF icon Fairy 56035600 NLA06608-1326
Otter Tail PDF icon Maine (Round) 56047600 NLA06608-1198
Otter Tail PDF icon Pebble 56082900 NLA06608-0174
Polk PDF icon Unnamed (Arthur) 60030700 NLA06608-0915
Ramsey PDF icon Snail 62007300 NLA06608-1447
St. Louis PDF icon Alruss 69000500 NLA06608-1102
St. Louis PDF icon Spring 69012900 NLA06608-1347
St. Louis PDF icon Arthur 69015400 NLA06608-1342
St. Louis PDF icon Lamb 69034100 NLA06608-1150
St. Louis PDF icon Lost 69061100 NLA06608-0318
Scott PDF icon Fish 70006900 NLA06608-0935
Swift PDF icon North Drywood 76016900 NLA06608-0871
Wright PDF icon Long 86006900 NLA06608-0743
Wright PDF icon Cokato 86026300 NLA06608-0551