Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program

Help protect your lake's water quality!

Indiana has over 1,100 lakes. These lakes offer Hoosiers tremendous recreational opportunities, provide drinking water and flood control, as well as habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. In 1989, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) created the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program as part of the Indiana Clean Lakes Program. The Volunteer Lake Monitoring program is a cooperative effort by IDEM, Indiana University’s School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) and volunteer citizen scientists to monitor the quality of all publicly-owned lakes. The program includes over 100 Indiana lakes and more lakes are added to the program each year. Volunteers like you donate about one hour of their time every two weeks to collect the necessary data. Your efforts provide a number of benefits not only for IDEM, but also for you:  

  • As a volunteer you will learn more about lake science (limnology).
  • You’ll be able to take Secchi disk transparency readings, qualitative water assessments, and possibly collect total phosphorous and chlorophyll-a samples.
  • By analyzing your samples and summarizing the information that you collect, we will be able to assess the changes in water quality at your lake.
  • You will be able to compare the water quality of your lake to lakes around the state.
  • After collecting several seasons’ worth of data for a particular lake, we can begin to assess the long-term trends in the lake and determine if the lake’s water quality is being degraded, is improving, or staying the same.
  • This assessment can identify which lakes should receive more intensive management and/or monitoring.

For more information on the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, please visit the Clean Lakes Program web page or contact Melissa Laney at mlaney@indiana.edu