Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, every last one of them a public treasure. And we love them. We fish (year-round!), we boat, we ski, we sail, we swim, we dive, we splash, we skate.

What we don't like is to see them covered in algae, their waters muddied by pollution and trash.

Now you can help the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency keep our waters clear by signing up to monitor a lake or stream in your area.

It's easy. You "adopt" a lake or stream, and then perform a water clarity test twice a month in the summer. The MPCA sends you a kit, and provides equipment and training. No previous experience is needed. People who sign up to monitor lakes do need to have their own access to a water craft, but people who monitor streams may perform their tests from a bridge or the stream bank.

Make it a family event. Bring the kids! Teach them some science and stewardship without them even realizing it! Nab your samples then have a splash fight or go fishing.

Quite a few bodies of water in our area are on the list needing monitoring. If none of these appeal to you, check out the MPCA's map and choose one that better suits you.

  • Cannon Lake
    Nearest Town: Faribault, Rice County
  • French Lake
    Nearest town: Faribault, Rice County
  • Goose Lake
    Nearest town: Waseca, Steele County
  • Scotch Lake
    Nearest town: Cleveland, Le Sueur County
  • Shady Lake
    Nearest town: Oronoco, Olmsted County
  • Swan Lake
    Nearest town: Owatonna, Steele County
Stream/River locations:
  • Straight River at CSAH-31 bridge
    3.5 miles southwest of Owatonna, Steele County
  • Cannon River on MN-60
    1 mile southwest of Warsaw, Rice County
  • Forest Prairie Creek near outlet to Le Sueur Creek
    Just east of Le Sueur, Le Sueur County
  • Zumbro River at New Haven Road Northwest
    Pine Island, Olmsted County