Volunteers help to prevent the spread of AIS

By Tucker Henderson


Are you looking for an excuse to get outdoors? Want to get in better touch with nature this summer? The perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and water lovers alike is available to all Minnesotans.

Lake and stream monitors are needed this summer to test local waterways for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The agency is looking for volunteers around the New York Mills, Bluffton and Ottertail areas to test water clarity throughout the summer months and into October.

Volunteers test area waters for clarity using tools provided by the MPCA including a Secchi disk and special water collection tubes. Water clarity tests would be done at least twice a month at designated locations on lakes or streams. Readings will be submitted at the end of each monitoring season. All equipment and training is provided by the MPCA.

“Program volunteers come from all walks of life; from retirees and families to teachers with their classrooms and entire community groups, anyone can be a volunteer,” reads the press release from the MPCA.

In fact, those that love to get out on the water already will have the necessary equipment to take lake clarity tests. The MPCA goes on to say that, “No prior experience or training is needed. Lake monitors need access to a boat, canoe or kayak; stream monitors access their sites from a streambank or bridge crossing.”

“We have several high-priority sites that still need volunteers for this year’s monitoring season. This is the perfect opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts and those interested in helping protect our state’s natural resources,” said Lauren Lewandowski, Communications Specialist for the MPCA.

These sites include:

• Mud Lake in Perham

• Head Lake near Richville

• Round Lake near Richville

• Long Lake near Ottertail

• Buchanan Lake near Ottertail

• Donalds Lake in Ottertail

• Portage Lake near Ottertail

• Gourd Lake near Ottertail

• Tamarack Lake

• Various sites along Otter Tail River

• Various sites along Bluff Creek

• Various sites along Blue Creek

There is no deadline to register as the MPCA is always in need of volunteers. Those that are interested in the program can join at any point during the year by signing up at www.mn.gov/volunteerwater or by calling 800-657-3864.