Lake Access: Managing Urban Runoff Using Real-Time, Community-Based Monitoring to Improve Lake Water Quality

EPA Grant Number: R828579
Title: Lake Access: Managing Urban Runoff Using Real-Time, Community-Based Monitoring to Improve Lake Water Quality
Investigators: Barten, John , Axler, Richard , Hagley, Cindy , Host, George E. , Liukkonen, Barbara , Munson, Bruce , Owen, Christopher
Institution: Suburban Hennepin Regional Park District, MN , Minnehaha Creak Watershed District , University of Minnesota - Duluth
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $480,690
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


Communities are becoming increasingly involved in land and water management decisions that affect their quality of life. Access to data and information for making informed decisions, however, has been a limiting factor, both in terms of availability and understanding. This project addresses a dominant cause of impaired water quality in urban lakes: the widespread use of phosphorus-containing fertilizers on phosphorus (P)-rich soils in urban and suburban watersheds and the discharge of this excess P in storm water runoff.


We propose to conduct a community-based experiment comparing the downstream effects of broad-scale application of standard and P-free fertilizers in urban watersheds, use real-time, in-stream flow monitors to assess the effects of alum injection to remove phosphorus from storm water runoff, and corroborate the results with an in-lake real-time sampling station.


Environmental Parameters and Information Delivery: We will record runoff volume and P loading from watersheds, in-stream flow and P concentrations, and in-lake dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, conductivity and turbidity. Information on historic and current water quality will be delivered via the Internet, information kiosks, and programmatic activities.

Expected Results:

This project provides public access to information important to understanding dominant factors affecting the quality of surface waters in highly urban environments. The ultimate project result is behavior modifications lead to improved water quality.

Improvements in Risk Assessment: Public understanding of factors affecting the quality of surface waters will be improved by providing information needed to make sound decisions on personal actions that have cumulative environmental effects. Data and information management and delivery systems will be designed for easy adaptation to other communities, and will be linked with similar real-time water monitoring projects in other urban areas across the nation.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 26 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

watershed, phosphorus, water quality monitoring, treatment, public policy, limnology, modeling, education, outreach, data management, data visualization., Scientific Discipline, Water, Hydrology, Limnology, Ecology, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Wet Weather Flows, Ecological Risk Assessment, EMPACT, watershed, urban runoff, downstream effects, turbidity, recreational area, community based, fertilizer, data management, treatment, water quality, flow monitor, public policy, water treatment, outreach and education, lake ecosystems, real-time monitoring, land management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • Final Report