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Study shows Northwoods lakes clarity is improvingSubmitted: 05/14/2014
Story By Matt Brooks


NORTHWOODS - With summer approaching, you'll probably spend time out on the lakes.

A recent study shows that lake water clarity is mostly improving across the Northwoods.

The study takes water data from more than 70 years of observations. This includes more than 3,000 inland lakes over 8 states.

The results from volunteers showed clarity in Northwoods lakes is improving as a whole.

"This study relied solely on citizen-collected data," says Research Scientist Noel Lottig of the U.W. Center for Limnology. "If you look at state agencies or research scientists like myself, we don't have the ability to monitor all lakes everywhere all the time. It's just too large of a task and there isn't the resources available."


People taking the measurements use a tool designed to measure water clarity. It's called a secchi disk.

"It's a device used to measure water clarity. How we use it," Lottig explains, "is we take this device and drop it over the side of a boat and off the side of a dock. We drop it down through the water column until we can no longer see the secchi disk. At that point in time we'll measure how deep the secchi disk is underwater and that will give us an estimate."

More than half of the quarter-million observations in the Midwest were reported in Wisconsin.


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