A shallow lakes workshop

What: The Nature of Lakes—A Shallow Perspective
When: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 7 to 8 p.m.
Where: St. Louis Park Public Library,
3240 Library Lane St. Louis Park
For: All interested citizens
Cost: Free – Light refreshments will be served

 Questions and to RSVP – Contact Alex Gehrig at the Freshwater Society

For more information on shallow lakes, the
DNR has an online resource.

As the land of 10,000 lakes (or 11,000 or 12,000 depending on whom you ask) Minnesota is certainly well known for its water resources. But much like the land has many different features, from the bluffs in the southeast, to the pothole prairie out west, to the pine and spruce forests up north, the lakes, too, come in many different shapes and forms.

For the most part, before I became more deeply involved in water resources, the word lake brought forth images of cool, deep, clear water that I would skip across on a tube or dive into from the back of a boat. Since then I’ve come to realize that lakes are much like finger prints with no two exactly the same and with some very different from others.

One of the parameters that water resource professionals use to classify lakes is their depth, and for an important reason: the depth of a lake can determine how it functions and what role it plays in a particular environment.

If a lake is mostly or entirely 15 feet in depth or less it is classified as a shallow lake.  Shallow lakes neither stratify nor undergo the normal spring and fall turnover of their deeper cousins.

They tend to be more rich in nutrients and to have more abundant plant life, and the interactions between the plant and animal life in them are critical to their health – and also delicate. Over-management can lead to nasty turns that promote algae growth, reduce habitat and make them less enjoyable.

I will be leading an informal workshop on the topic of shallow lakes Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 7 to 8 p.m. at the St. Louis Park Public Library. If you live on a lake, if you use lakes a lot, if you love lakes – please find time to attend. Learn more about the event.

I’ll review some important concepts to think about when caring for these resources, but come equipped with your own experiences to share and questions to ask.

While they don’t have the same draw or appeal of the deep north woods lakes, shallow lakes are critical for both habitat (ask any hunter or angler) and can play a significant role in controlling the movement of water across the landscape – and preventing flooding.

Since learning a bit more about them, the word lake calls additional things to mind. Like flowering lily pads – which look less like “weeds” now and more like “sediment stabilizers” and “important living space for the little critters that help keep algae in check.” It doesn’t roll off the tongue smoothly, so maybe it’s just better to say — there’s beauty in being shallow.