Water Quality Update
Winter, 2003 By Les Martin
The Conservancy continues to work to get a better picture of what is really happening to our Cedar Lake in terms of water quality. During the summer, the 11 inlet streams and the Cedar Lake outlet were monitored for levels of potentially harmful phosphates both entering and leaving the lake. Some of the inlets can occasionally have higher than we would like to see levels of potentially harmful phosphates but flows are usually very small. The two main inlets, Cedar Brook and Casey Brook, do not have what is considered by the MPCA to be excessively high levels of phosphates although they typically run twice the level of the lake itself. This summer the Conservancy also had a joint project with the MPCA monitoring levels in the lake at various points and depths of algae and phosphate. Walt Saubrei was the main contact this year and took samples which he sent on to the MPCA for analysis. We haven’t gotten their results yet but hope they will be forth coming soon. Once we get these, we plan to report our findings to the members.
We need to remember that one year is only a snap shot in time. The trends that are affecting lake water quality are longer term and we will need to monitor things for a longer period before drawing conclusions. Particularly in the light of the very unusual year for precipitation in the Cedar water shed. We went from near drought conditions in the spring to flood conditions in early July and then back to almost drought in the fall. The results are also confused by the blowout of two large, old beaver dams that added to the poor water clarity conditions and occasional high phosphate levels seen in the Cedar brook inlet.
In the light of the need to get more data cheaply, the Conservancy acquired additional water testing equipment to complement our Secchi discs and oxygen sensor equipment. This equipment will enable us to continue inlet and outlet monitoring again next year but at very reasonable cost.
Our lake stewards again checked for Eurasian mil foil through out the year and so far we’ve been lucky and no mil foil was found.
One unfinished piece of business is that we are still missing some of the Secchi readings taken this summer. If you have not mailed in your readings yet, please forward them to me at 2579 Becks Rd.; Duluth, Mn. 55810.
The success of the water quality monitoring is due to the volunteers who are checking Secchi readings and doing the mil foil checks. I and all the members of the Cedar Lake Conservancy board would like to thank you all for your help and continued support.