Water Quality Research Project


Scott Benson

The first year of the three-year Bad Medicine Lake water quality study being conducted for us by Bemidji Sate University was completed in early November. Like a complete physical examination of a healthy person, this study is designed to take comprehensive measurements on multiple variables affecting water quality on Bad Medicine Lake over a period of three years. The accumulated data will allow us to establish a healthy baseline against which future water quality problems can be identified. When a problem is identified and its cause determined, we will receive informed recommendations about “treatment” and confidently begin working on solutions to restore our water quality and preserve it for generations to come.

In 2017, the research team from Bemidji State collected extensive data on water temperature, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll-A at four different sites on the lake and at multiple depths over a period of several months. Zooplankton was sampled and counts are now almost completed. Compiling the data on algae (phytoplankton) species and concentrations plus the chemical analysis of phosphorus and calcium hardness will be started soon.  A comprehensive report on the 2017 findings can be expected before the next Annual Meeting of the Lake Association.

In 2018, all of the above sampling will be repeated to add to the data necessary to begin to establish patterns and trends over time. In addition, soil samples of upland and shoreline phosphorus will be collected and analyzed to determine how much phosphorus in the lake is from soil erosion. The last piece of data collection will be the plotting of aquatic plant species, their locations and their densities within the lake.

We were all drawn to Bad Medicine Lake by the magic and mystery of its pristine water. We all feel the hypnotic pull of its clarity, its color and its depth. It is why we love this lake. And it is why we decided to launch this project to protect and preserve a very special resource.

Now, we need to pull together to generate the additional funds to pay for Year 2.

Current contributions and pledges leave us about $13,000 short of what is needed by March 1, 2018 in order to contract with BSU for data collection, analysis and report preparation for Year 2.

Many thanks to all who have made contributions so far.  We are seeking donations of any size to help in this important cause that directly benefits everyone on the lake.  Think about a family contribution or a Christmas gift to Bad Medicine Lake this year!  A pledge form can be found in the Fall Newsletter and an updated pledge form can be found on the opening page of the BMLAA website (http://badmedicine.mnlakesandrivers.org/).

It should be noted that all pledges and payments are managed by West Central Initiative (www.wcif.org).  You can easily make your tax deductible contribution on their website, just look in their Component Funds for the Bad Medicine Lake Area Fund.

Finally, in the next couple of weeks, members of the Bad Medicine Lake Area Association and the Bad Medicine Lake Area Foundation will be contacting property owners by phone to have a short and painless conversation and answer any questions you may have about the lake study and about making a contribution to getting Year 2 off the ground and on the water.

Should you have questions about the details of the water quality study, feel free to contact Steve Lindow at (218) 573-3765 or by email (Steve.Lindow@yahoo.com) for more information.

To make a donation and/or pledge click on this linkPledge Card