Data is available from two Lake Minnetonka bays:
West Upper Bay
Lake Minnetonka, located 20 miles due west of Minneapolis/St. Paul (about
10 miles south of Lake Independence) is more of a collection of 16 interconnecting
lakes with about 23 named bays and areas. The lake was formed by glacial
melting during the last Ice Age. At 14,500 acres (22.6 sq miles) it is
the 10th largest lake in Minnesota.
Lake Minnetonka is a valued natural and recreational
resource in the Twin Cities metro area. It's large size, recreational
opportunities, fisheries, location within the metro area, aesthetics,
and rich cultural history make Lake Minnetonka well known in Minnesota
as well as the nation. The lake was originally a wild rice lake of
great importance to the Native Americans (Dakota Sioux and Ojibwa)
that lived in the area. Water quality was
degraded over time by the thousands of summertime visitors and the
associated huge hotels, which dumped large amounts of untreated human
waste and other garbage into the lake.
As the lakeshore was further developed and the population became a year-round
community, the lake received millions of gallons of partially treated
wastewater each day from outmoded sewage treatment plants. In the early
1970s, the Metropolitan Council prohibited discharge of sewage effluent
to all of the lakes in the Metro area, resulting in a significant improvement
in the clarity and quality of Lake Minnetonka.
Today, development pressure remains high and the watershed continues
to change from agricultural to large lot residential and city development.
Two bays in Lake Minnetonka were monitored with RUSS technology, Halsted's
Bay and West Upper Lake, to compare and contrast two adjacent regions
of the lake that had very different water quality and to find out how
important short-term mixing events from storms were in controlling oxygen,
and algae in Halsted's Bay.