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Lake Monitoring

The ambient lake monitoring program began in 2000 as an effort to better understand and characterize lake water quality in Iowa. The objective of this program is to sample 131 of Iowa’s recreational lakes and to describe current water quality and trends in water quality. Because temporal variability of Iowa’s watersheds is great, samples are collected 3 times a summer at each of the 131 lakes from May through September. Brushy Creek Lake in Webster County. Photo by Clay Smith, IDNR.
Monitoring crews navigate to the deepest point in the lake where they collect water samples for numerous chemical, physical, and biological parameters. From 2000 through 2007 Iowa State University (ISU) conducted the ambient lake monitoring program. From 2005 through the 2008 the University Hygienic Laboratory also collected samples as part of the ambient lake monitoring program in an effort to expand the scope of the program. For 2009 Iowa State University resumed sampling as part of the ambient lake monitoring program.

  • See which lakes are being monitored.

  • Look at the list of parameters.

  • Read the 2005 Scientific Initiatives Report.

  • Carter Lake Data - Cyanobacteria

  • Iowa State University Limnology

  • UHL Ambient Lake monitoring program data


  • For more information, contact Lisa Fascher at: lisa.fascher@dnr.iowa.gov.


    Click here for currently monitored lakes.