CHALLENGES WE FACE
Contaminated runoff and sediment from agricultural land and lakeshore development raises the amount of phosphorus in our lakes, which in turn causes algae to grow and can fuel toxic blue-green algae blooms.
Large growths of algae are called algal blooms. Some algal blooms produce toxins and bacterial growth that are harmful to humans, pets, and wildlife if they come in contact with polluted water.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
We are working to raise awareness in addressing our lake's problems.
Harmful Algal Bloom Awareness
(HAB's, Toxic Blue-Green Algae, Cyanobacteria)
Harmful algal blooms are the rapid growth of algae that can cause harm to people, animals, or the local ecology. Harmful algae blooms can look like foam, scum, paint, or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors.
Because it is hard to tell a HAB from non-harmful algal blooms, it is best to avoid swimming, boating, otherwise recreating in. If in Doubt, Stay Out!
A bloom may be present in one part of a lake and not visible the next day. A bloom may last for several weeks until conditions in the lake change and the algae die and decompose.
If you are concerned about a potential harmful algal bloom, call SD DANR 605-773-3623.
Links to click:
Water Quality Volunteer Monitoring
We partnered with SD DANR Watershed Protection Program for volunteer training and support on water quality sampling of Lake Poinsett and Lake Albert. Our samples are sent to the state health lab in Pierre and analyzed by SD DANR's environmental scientists.
The state does monitor our lake water on a rotation basis with other lakes and streams, however there a many years where no testing is done. Our volunteers not only fill in those gap years with consistent data, but we test more sites around the lakes. This creates a larger snapshot of critical data for researchers to track health trends.
Be a WQ Volunteer. Your involvement benefits the lake.
GROWTH OF OUR PROGRAM
We sample once a month, May - September (Sample sites are marked above on the map.)
2021 - 3 volunteers took 38 samples at 5 sites on Lake Poinsett
2022 - 8 volunteers took 74 samples at 9 sites on Lake Poinsett and Lake Albert
We sample the lake water for these pollutants:
Phosphorus is an essential element, all aquatic plants and animals need it to grow. Excessive phosphorus can lead to toxic bacteria, harmful algae blooms, and depleted oxygen levels so that plant life and fish do not flourish.
Testing the lake water for Chlorophyll-a measures the amount of algae growing.
Nitrogen is a natural occurring nutrient in aquatic ecosystems. Excess nitrogen can cause overstimulation in growth of aquatic plants and algae.
PHOSPHOROUS & SOIL EROSION
Soil erosion is a major contributor of phosphorus overload in lakes. Phosphorus binds to soil particles and enters lakes as runoff from snowmelt and rainfall.
Escherichia coli is a bacteria that comes from human and animal waste. If it exceeds a permissible level beaches may be closed for swimming and fishing. In 1991 the EPA designated dog waste as an environmental pollutant.
Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae can develop toxins that are harmful to humans, pets, and wildlife. Testing is the only way to confirm its toxicity.
Water clarity is measured with a secchi (sec-kee) disk, which is lowered into the water until the disk disappears. The distance from when it disappears is the water clarity reading.
Other nutrients tested
Ammonia in excess can cause fish kills. More commonly it negatively affects fish growth.
WATER QUALITY REPORTS
How healthy is our lake?
The worst thing we can do is pretend our lake will take care of itself.
South Dakota DANR Water Quality Portal
This is the state's Water Quality Monitoring Access Portal for viewing our collected data along with data from other groups. Click the lake below to access its monitoring statistics for the past 5 years.