The WMO’s water quality monitoring program (PDF) tracks water quality in the WMO’s streams and lakes. Sampling began in 2005 with three automated sites. Our program includes monitoring Sand Creek and its tributaries, and Cedar and McMahon Lakes. Lakes were monitored by the Metropolitan Council staff in 2005 and through the Metropolitan Council’s CAMP program volunteers in 2006 and 2007 as well as previous years starting in 1980. The WMO organizes volunteers for the lakes and contracts with the Scott SWCD to collect stream samples at designated sites. Through a Clean Water Partnership grant project for Sand Creek, we expanded our water quality monitoring in 2007 to 11 sites.
In general, the stream monitoring found water quality parameters within acceptable levels for toxic parameters such as trace metals, chlorides and unionized ammonia. However, turbidity, suspended solids, phosphorus, and fecal coliform bacteria levels are elevated, except at the Raven Creek sites. Monitored lakes were all found to have elevated nutrient (phosphorus) levels, poor water clarity, and were very biologically productive. Phosphorus is the nutrient that when in excess, typically allows lakes to grow excessive amounts of algae leaving them green and filmy.