Lake Water Quality

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*Lake Aesthetic and User Recreation Index

Why This Is Important

Minneapolis is known for its beautiful lakes, rivers and streams. Those waterways serve as important habitats for birds and other wildlife and offer a host of recreational opportunities. Keeping those waterways clean and healthy ensures that they continue to be key environmental assets for generations to come.

What's Being Done

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and the City of Minneapolis work together to improve the water quality in local lakes, and to educate the public about ways they can help protect our natural waterways.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is the key steward for the City's park system. Key efforts to protect and improve water quality include:

  • Maintaining and enhancing shoreline plantings
  • Removing trash from the lakes and park system
  • Harvesting invasive aquatic plants where matted vegetation interferes with recreation
  • Implementing restoration projects where feasible
  • Monitoring surface water quality

The City's key efforts to protect and improve water quality include:

  • Regular street sweeping to limit the amount of sediment and nutrients reaching the lakes
  • Installing and maintaining stormwater treatment infrastructure throughout the city

About This Measure

LAURI is a metric developed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to track how recreational users are affected by the environmental health of lakes. Data for the index is collected by the Park and Recreation Board from shore and by boat to approximate what lake users may experience. LAURI tracks five components:

  • Public Health (E. coli measured at public swimming beaches)
  • Water Quality (water clarity/Secchi depth)
  • Habitat Quality (aquatic plant and fish diversity)
  • Recreational Access (availability and ease of public access)
  • Aesthetic Considerations (color and odor of water, garbage and debris)

Each component is ranked excellent, good or poor based on data collected from each of the lakes. Because of the wide variety of ways people experience the lakes, different components will matter to different users. For example, boaters and swimmers will want to choose lakes with excellent Recreational Access and Public Health scores. Habitat Quality scores will matter more to people who want to fish.

For more information on LAURI, see MPRB Water Resources Reports.

In 2009 the LAURI was further refined to give a more accurate, and science based indicator for the public. 2009 LAURI data is not directly comparable to past data. See historical Lake Water Quality data.

Last updated Mar 21, 2013

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