Minnesota’s water has come a long way from the days when raw sewage flowed untreated into rivers as a matter of course. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to restore the impaired lakes, rivers, and streams in the state. Land use is a major factor in the current water quality problems — agricultural drainage, urban and rural runoff, and erosion caused by removing vegetation from shorelines. If you happen to live near a stream or lake, there is an exciting opportunity in your area! Become a citizen lake or stream volunteer and help gather vital information about the status of water resources. Volunteers will measure the clarity of lakes and streams, collecting valuable data to assist watershed protection and restoration. For some lakes and streams, data collected by volunteers are the only data available.
Join more than 1,400 Minnesotans who track the health of their favorite lake or stream through the Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Programs. The Citizen Stream-Monitoring Program (CSMP) combines the knowledge and commitment of interested citizens with the technical expertise and resources of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The Citizen Lake-Monitoring Program (CLMP) requires only minimal volunteer time, yet it provides what is essential for achieving these goals. CLMP volunteers collect water transparency data using an 8-inch Secchi disk. A Secchi disk is a circular metal plate attached to a calibrated rope. It is probably the most inexpensive and easy to use tool in water quality monitoring.
Interesting fact: In 1998, the average Minnesota homeowner’s property insurance premiums were $368. Then came major tornados and straight-line wind storms. By 2011, the average premium was $1056, an increase of more than 286% in twelve years. Storms are the main reason for increased premiums.