KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — While a frozen lake or stream may look completely still and lifeless, beneath the surface of the ice there is still plenty going on.
Throughout the winter, the Center for Lakes and Streams researchers have been taking samples from 19 streams in Kosciusko County, including four that flow into Winona Lake, three through the Warsaw area, three to Lake Tippecanoe and four to Lake Wawasee. They are also sampling one that flows out of Syracuse Lake.
Because these streams are so closely tied to the local lakes, sampling is necessary to helping the center’s researchers understand local aquatic ecosystems. Researchers look for things like stream depth, temperature, dissolved oxygen, flow rate, PH levels and conductivity. All of this provides insight into the overall health of Kosciusko County’s lakes and streams.
“It tells us how we, as a county, can improve in protecting and maintaining these water resources,” research assistant Stephen Becker said.
This means sampling needs to continue all year, even during the coldest parts of the winter.
“While the top layer of water may be iced over, many streams continue to flow under the ice throughout the winter,” research assistant Seth Bingham said. “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.”
Countywide, sampling takes place at 57 lake sites May through September.