Lakes Appreciation (Northern Plains Region)
As part of the National Lakes Assessment, the U.S. EPA selected and sampled 65 lakes in the Northern Plains Region (covering western North and South Dakota, eastern Montana, northeast Wyoming and a small part of northern Nebraska) to characterize the condition of more than 2,600 lakes throughout the area. What did researchers find?
- Just one percent of lakes in the Northern Plains Region are in good biological condition, meaning they are able to support healthy aquatic plant and animal communities.
- 41 percent of lakes show low risk of exposure to blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), which produce toxins that can make humans sick.
- 99 percent of lakes show moderate or high levels of lakeshore disturbance due to human activities from things like agricultural activities and removing trees to add paved areas, sandy beaches or lawns.
Viewer Tip: July is Lakes Appreciation Month. As you enjoy boating, fishing and swimming in local lakes, remember that you can help keep our lakes healthy.
If you live near a lake: Go Wild. Let natural vegetation grow near the lake shoreline to filter water pollutants and protect the shoreline from erosion.
If you visit a lake: Avoid hitchhikers. Non-native species (animals and plants that are not originally from a certain lake) can invade a lake and take over the habitat. If you are a recreational boater, don’t give non-native species a free ride: remove any visible mud and plants from equipment that was in the water, including your boat and trailer. And never put any plants, fish or other animals into a body of water – unless they came out of that same water!
(Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2009. National Lakes Assessment: A Collaborative Survey of the Nation’s Lakes. EPA 841-R-09-001. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water and Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC; Trout Unlimited, www.tu.org)