‘Our water is our diamond’

Photo: White water lilies bloom in South Center Lake off the shore of Loren’s Park in Center City. Three cities — Chisago City, Lindstrom and Center City — are surrounded by the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes. Most of Lindstrom’s 3.5 square miles lie within the shoreland district. Photo Credits: Ann Wessel, BWSR

As urban and rural conservation practices improve water quality, two lakes in the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes move toward removal from the Impaired Waters List. The Chisago SWCD’s work with landowners is backed by lake improvement district matches, Clean Water Fund grants and NRCS funds.

CENTER CITY — On a hot summer weekday, a boisterous group of swimmers splashed near a private dock as the occasional boater crossed South Center Lake. On the opposite shore, a couple of anglers fished from Loren’s Park.

There’s a good chance none of them knew South Center Lake is on course to come off the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s impaired waters list as soon as 2022.

‘Our water is our diamond’

What residents and visitors do know is that water quality has improved. From 2013 through 2018, phosphorus levels in both South Center and North Center lakes consistently surpassed water-quality standards for aquatic recreation. (Phosphorus feeds the algae that can turn lakes green.) Average Secchi disk readings, which measure water clarity, hovered at the threshold. Average chlorophyll-a levels, which indicate algal growth, remained high.

“Things have definitely gotten better, and they’re getting close to the point where we can delist specifically these two lakes,” said Lee Engel, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency water quality monitoring supervisor. “You can see that concentrations are trending in the right direction.”

The 2018 results arrived in late January.

For the first time since the listing, South Center Lake came in […]

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‘Our water is our diamond’
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‘Our water is our diamond’
Two lakes in the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes move toward removal from the Impaired Waters List. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
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