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  Lake Minnetonka

Data is available from two Lake Minnetonka bays:
Halsted's Bay

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, nutrients, and algae in Halsted's Bay.


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date last updated: Wednesday March 03 2004