Clear lakes disguise impaired water quality


10/12/2017 02:03 PM EDT

aerial view of a small lake near the city of Clear Lake, Iowa

Look at a hundred lakes in the United States’ agricultural heartland and you’ll likely see green lakes surrounded by green fields. Agricultural fertilizers that help crops grow also fuel growth of algae and cyanobacteria that in excess can turn lakes the color of pea soup. Yet when scientists looked at 13 years of data from 139 lakes in intensively agricultural areas of Iowa they saw lakes that were surprisingly clear despite extremely high nutrient concentrations.

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University of Minnesota

This is an NSF News From the Field item.