Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Development of an ecological assessment method for Minnesota...


July 2007 - June 2009


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has encouraged the Department of Natural Resources to identify and develop two lake health indicators that could be used to assess whether Minnesota lakes are impaired as part of the Minnesota Legislature’s Clean Water Legacy Initiative to facilitate the implementation of the Total Maximum Daily Load process mandated by the Clean Water Act. Our goal is to evaluate indictors of lake health should be used for assessing the ecological integrity of lakes in Minnesota, focusing on an indicator that will complement the fish index of biological integrity (fish IBI) that has developed. Our objectives are to: (1) review the existing indicators of lake health that have been used in temperate lakes, (2) use existing data within Minnesota to evaluate the applicability and robustness of existing measures of lake health, (3) prioritize approaches across the gradient of Minnesota lake types and identify data gaps, and (4) identify an approach to complement the fish IBI method, and recommend a general framework for its use in Minnesota.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Beck, M. W., L. K. Hatch, B. Vondracek, and R. D. Valley. 2010. Development of a macrophyte-based index of biotic integrity for Minnesota lakes. Ecological Indicators 10:968–979. Abstract | 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4236



  • Bruce VondracekPrincipal Investigator
  • Marcus BeckStudent

Funding Agencies

  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey