By MADISSON HEINL
Communications Specialist, Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College
WINONA LAKE — The Center for Lakes & Streams conducts regular stream sampling on county streams which feed into several local lakes in Warsaw, Winona Lake, North Webster and Syracuse even throughout the winter months.
Stream sampling is a way to gauge how community and environmental factors commonly affect local lakes. Results of sampling can provide clues as to what is causing harm to a lake. According to Research Assistant Stephen Becker, “Sampling tells us how we, as a county, can improve in protecting and maintaining these water resources.”
The center uses a variety of instruments that measure stream temperature, depth, dissolved oxygen, flow rate, pH, and conductivity. Samples are collected for additional lab analyses as well. The Center for Lakes & Streams has regularly sampled streams around local lakes since 2012, and will begin including Tippecanoe, James, and Oswego lakes in their efforts beginning in 2016.
Stream sampling during the winter is crucial to understanding local lake health year-round. Lakes undergo seasonal changes and sampling assists in the understanding of how environmental factors may affect these changes.
Research Assistant Seth Bingham, explains, “While the top layer of water may be iced over, many streams continue to flow under the ice throughout the winter … Though winter sampling is often cold and uncomfortable, it is just as important as sampling during warmer months and allows us to gain a balanced, year-round understanding of our lakes and streams.”
The Center for Lakes & Streams currently samples 19 county streams regularly. These streams include four surrounding Winona Lake, six streams throughout the Warsaw area, three streams surrounding Lake Tippecanoe area, four that flow to Lake Wawasee, and one stream flowing out of Syracuse Lake. The Center for Lakes & Streams also conducts summer sampling at 57 lake sites in Kosciusko County from May to September.
The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner.
For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu.