WINONA LAKE — Area lakes provide an economic impact to the communities, as well as a great source for summer and winter enjoyment. Many of those who live on the lakes want to preserve it for future generations of skiers, fishers and swimmers and so does Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College.
Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams has released its annual Beneath the Surface report, providing data and analysis to allowing insights needed to care for the lakes in the best possible ways.
Due to the Lilly Center’s diligent, strategic work, the lakes and streams in Kosciusko County are some of the best studied in the state. A library of valuable data has been gathered that shows patterns and trends in the health of the lakes, which in turn reveals specific management steps.
Beneath the Surface 2020 is a condensed form of the data Lilly Center staff and students have gathered between 2018 and 2020. All 14 lakes in the study are sampled by the center and included in the summary. These lakes include Beaver Dam, Big Barbee, Big Chapman, Center, Dewart, James, Oswego, Pike, Syracuse, Tippecanoe, Wawasee, Webster, Winona and Yellow Creek lakes.
The report gives an overview of dissolved oxygen, nutrients – phosphorus and nitrogen, blue-green algae and a look going from the lake to the lab.
Deeper inside the report readers will find two pages of information on the individual studies pertinent to those lakes and how the most recent information compares to 2018 and 2019.
The report concludes with what people can do with what has been learned from the studies including best practices and taking the next steps. Among the suggestions are knowing your neighbors, observe your lake, use native plants, dispose of hazardous waste and don’t put yard waste in the lake. Additionally readers can learn about the center’s projects – stream sensor network, algae research lab and the Barbee-Chapman study.
“Overall, our research is showing that Kosciusko County lakes are good, but could be better. Many of our lakes have good water clarity, and water clarity overall was higher on average the summer of 2020 (6.3 feet) compared to 2019 (5.8 feet). This past summer also had lower algae toxin levels compared to the previous two summers. But all of our lakes currently have too many nutrients growing weeds and algae and not enough oxygen in deep water for fish,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director.
“Our efforts are making the lakes cleaner and healthier, but these efforts need to be sustained to ensure these lakes are clean and healthy for future generations of county residents and visitors.”
The Lilly Center has three trained aquatic scientists: Bosch, Alex Hall and Adrienne Funderburg. The center’s research is guided and quality-assured by their efforts. Funderburg also leads a team of Grace College students in gathering and analyzing research.
To read a copy of the report go to lakes.grace.edu/bts2020/. There will be instructions on how you can get the 2020 Lakes Report and/or read Beneath the Surface to learn about individual lakes.