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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

High Water at Lake Herman: Algae, Weeds, Snails!

I got to break out the waders and boonie hat and play Junior Science Ranger again yesterday: we had another round of water sampling as part of our area lake bacteria monitoring project yesterday. Samples so far this year have come in relatively clean. Bacteria counts have been well below the maximum state and EPA standards for safe swimming and other recreation. (You still take a swig at your own risk.) We've had some soupy and stinky algae days, but yesterday the water seemed remarkably clear—not northern Minnesota clear, but we'll take what we can get.

Lake Herman has dropped significantly in the past dry week, perhaps as much as a foot. But the lake is still remarkably high at my home shoreline and at my two water sampling sites at Camp Lakodia and, pictured above, the south tributary on Rick Doblar's land. (Click each photo for bigger view.)

Looking north toward the state park... see the brown triangle beyond the tree? Usually, that's all green grass. But the water was high enough in June to inundate that low ground alongside the tributary and drown the grass.

That usually dry ground is still plenty wet. Out at the tip is the point where I usually drop my gear on dry ground and wade in to take samples.

Lake Herman's south bay is about a meter deep just off shore and stays that depth for quite a ways out. The water is rife with what my biologist friends say is sago pondweed. Good for ducks and geese, bad for your boat prop.

Snails dig sago pondweed, too.


  1. Put this in your pond water . . . or maybe not.
    Riddle at Short Creek Dam: What Killed 100,000 Fish, Turtles, Frogs, Crawdads?

    Rain runoff? Probably not. Happens all the time.

    Summer kill? Probably not. Conditions not appearing favorable.

    Gross or negligent application of herbicide or pesticide. Perhaps.

    Fracking. Perhaps. See, rent, view, the documentary, Gasland.

    Since the Souris River drains into Canada we can bet the Canadians are paying attention.

  2. mmmm.... Escargot.... *drool*

  3. That's a terrible mess, John. I've never heard of "high-temperature run-off" turning a lake black and removing the oxygen. Send some biologists upstream!


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