The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is working in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) on the Sustaining Lakes in a Changing Environment (SLICE) Sentinel Lakes Program. The focus of this interdisciplinary effort is to improve understanding of how major drivers of change such as development, agriculture, climate change, and invasive species can affect lake habitats and fish populations, and to develop a long-term strategy to collect the necessary information to detect undesirable changes in Minnesota Lakes (Valley 2009). To increase our ability to predict the consequences of land cover and climate change on lake habitats, SLICE utilizes intensive lake monitoring strategies on a wide range of representative Minnesota lakes. This includes analyzing relevant land cover and land use, identifying climate stressors, and monitoring the effects on the lake's habitat and biological communities. The Sentinel Lakes Program has selected 24 lakes for long-term intensive lake monitoring (Figure 1). The "Deep" lakes typically stratify during the summer months. "Shallow" lakes are defined as mixing continuously throughout the summer. "Cold Water" lakes are defined as lakes that harbor cisco, lake whitefish, or lake trout and are the focus of research funded by the Environmental Trust Fund (ETF). "Super sentinel" lakes also harbor cold-water fish populations and research on these lakes is funded by the ETF. Echo Lake was selected to represent a shallow lake on the Canadian shield. It is a large but very shallow lake with a surface area of 461 hectares (ha) and a maximum depth of 3 meters (m). With a fetch of 5.9 kilometers (km), the lake is subjected to significant wind mixing and as a result, it is well mixed throughout most of the open water season. Echo Lake has a large forest and wetland dominated watershed, with a lake surface: watershed area of 27:1 that ultimately drains to Crane Lake. Because of the large watershed area and small volume, lake residence time is about 0.3 year, which implies the lake flushes about three times per year. Because the watershed lies in the Superior National Forest and Kabetogama State Forest there is very limited development on the lake.
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Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (St. Paul, Minnesota)
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Minnesota Pollution Control Agency