Sentinel 2 satellite Lake of the Woods October 20, 2018The view from space is compelling with blue green algae blooms covering most of the lake in late summer and fall as can be seen in this European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel satellite image from October.

A new generation of satellite sensors came on line this year – delivering high resolution detection and tracking of algae blooms. 

At our Watershed Forum in March, Dr. Caren Binding (Environment and Climate Change Canada) will present a preliminary report on her work on Lake of the Woods to develop near real time severity assessment and tracking of algae blooms.

Lake of the Woods issue of Lake and Reservoir ManagementYou’ve got until March 15th to download for free, some of the seminal research that is unlocking the mystery of what is causing algae blooms on Lake of the Woods.

Our science partners working on Lake of the Woods have put together a special issue of the Journal of Lake and Reservoir Management (Volume 33, Issue 4) devoted entirely to Lake of the Woods with free public access to this paid-subscription scientific journal. View online or Download pdf files of the research papers until March 15 at: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ulrm20/33/4

lowwsf_logoA big "thank you" to all who have invested in the future of Lake of the Woods by donating to the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation or by helping us at public meetings. Your gifts and support are helping to develop a sustainability plan for our lake.  A key element will be standards and reduction targets for phosphorus, responsible for the algae blooms.

thumb LOW 1W1P 640The local governments within the Minnesota portion of the Lake of the Woods Watershed are collaborating together on a watershed-based plan known as the One Watershed, One Plan. Those governments include Lake of the Woods County, Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Warroad River Watershed District, Roseau County and Roseau SWCD.  The ultimate goal of the planning effort is to implement water management activities on a watershed basis, spanning jurisdictional boundaries.

thumb stormdrain stencillingOnly Rain Down the Drain!  That’s the message behind a binational storm drain stenciling project this past summer.  Our Foundation's Watershed Coordination Program engaged youth and the communities of Fort Frances and Kenora, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota to paint messages beside storm drains next to Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River.  The messages are reminders to take care of what goes into those storm drains. These drains lead directly to the river and lake, without treatment.  Soap used for car washing, oils, gas and greases, fertilizers on lawns and other contaminants can get washed down into these drains with overland flow.

thumb 8ijcboardAlgae blooms during late summer and fall on Lake of the Woods remain a concern that was highlighted by the Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board at it's meetings with IJC Commissioners in Ottawa, October 25, 2017.

The view from space is compelling with blue green algae blooms widespread across the southern basin  - "the Big Traverse" beginning in early summer.  By fall, blooms covered most of the lake including in the middle channel and north central basin around Kenora.  Blooms persisted well into late October.

The IJC Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board released its annual report on water quality and aquatic ecosystem health, covering the period of 2015-2016. The primary focus is on inputs of the nutrient phosphorus to the Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River as a priority issue of concern. Other indicators of aquatic ecosystem health are covered for many of the major boundary water lakes in the watershed.

zebra musselsZebra mussels have not made it into Lake of the Woods or the Rainy River, yet.  But they have invaded several headwaters upstream in the watershed. On October 30, 2017 Minnesota DNR confirmed that zebra mussels in Dora Lake and the upper reaches of the Big Fork River, downstream of Sand Lake MN where zebra mussels were first confirmed in our watershed in 2013.