Concordia College Studies Human Impact on Minnesota’s Lakes

With climate change, the spread of aquatic invasive species and agriculture, people may see more issues on their lakes

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Whether you are taking a boat out on the water, jumping in for a swim or enjoying a backyard of nature, hundreds of lakes throughout Minnesota are available to the community.

“While it’s important everywhere, in Minnesota it really is foundational to the very structure of who we are here,” said Michelle Marko, an associate professor of biology at Concordia College.

A team at Concordia College is researching the impact of lake associations.

“What we’re really trying to do is just quantify a little bit of the demographics, so who they are, and what are some of their primary concerns,” said Marko.

What are lake associations?

“They’re just people who are really concerned with the quality of their lake and they just want to see the lake be there for the next generation and the way that they remember it when they were kids,” explained Benjamin Bjertness, a student researcher.

The research team wants to assess the current projects and understand their roles on the lakes.

“With climate change, with the spread of aquatic invasive species, with agriculture, people are maybe seeing more issues on their lakes now,” said Marko.

The group has visited with different lake associations and gathered information to develop their final survey.

“So not only do they clean the waters for themselves, to have a clean little playground in their backyard, but it just kind of helps the whole state,” said Matt Zabel, a student researcher.

The group made changes from the original pilot survey and now the real survey has been launched. They’re looking for as many responses as possible.

“We looked at the responses from that and we used it to refine the surveys so now we’re very proud of that final product, final survey,” said Mona Ibrahim, a professor of psychology at Concordia College. “We will be analyzing the survey data and writing a report that hopefully will get distributed to anybody who is interested in learning about the work that lake associations do.”

The report will give lake associations and people some guidance as to how they can help improve and maintain the lakes in Minnesota.

If you are interested in being a part of the survey, visit this Facebook page or this link.

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