About the LMVP:
The LMVP was created in 1992 and began with four lakes in the Kansas
City area. Since then about 200 volunteers have participated and water
samples have been collected on over 50 different lakes around the
state. Many lakes have several sample sites. Table Rock Lake, for
example, currently has 18 sample sites.
The goals of the LMVP are: 1) to determine the current water quality
based on productivity or trophic state of Missouri's lakes, 2) to
monitor for changes in water quality over time, and 3) to educate
the public about lake ecology and water quality issues.
Measuring Water Quality
The aspect of water quality that most interests the
LMVP is lake productivity. We gauge productivity by measuring
the amount of algae suspended in lake water. Algae are small plants
that provide food and oxygen for fish and other aquatic life.
While some algae are essential for a healthy lake, too much can
have a negative impact on recreational uses and aquatic life.
The LMVP also measures the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus in
the lake. These two nutrients act as fertilizers, promoting algal
growth. In some of our lakes, inorganic solids such as soil particles
give the water a brownish color. The LMVP measures the amount
of inorganic suspended solids in lakes where it might influence
water clarity. All volunteers also take Secchi
transparency readings. This is done with a Secchi disk, an
eight-inch diameter black and white disk that is lowered into
the lake until it disappears, thus providing a measure of water
clarity. Lakes in our program have a wide range of Secchi values
from less than 10 inches to over 16 feet.
The water samples are analyzed at the University of Missouri-Columbia,
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife limnology laboratory. An annual
data report is compiled containing the results of the data from all
of the public lakes, an educational section about lake ecology and water
quality issues, and copies of the newsletter, The Water Line. This report
is sent to all interested parties including the volunteers, government
agencies and lake associations. To request a copy, contact
us and let us know. You can also download the latest data report
(in PDF format) from our News page.
The process starts in the spring when an LMVP staff and volunteer
meet at the lake. The volunteer is given all of the equipment and trained
by the staff on the proper collection and processing procedures.
the training session the volunteer will learn to:
1) Select an appropriate collection site. On lakes where there is only
one sample taken, this site is generally near the middle of the dam and
away from the shore in deeper water. On lakes where there are multiple
sites, such as Table Rock or Lake of the Ozarks, volunteers choose sites
that are conveniently located for them.
2) Collect and record field data. The volunteer goes out in a boat to
the sample site and records surface water temperature, simple field observations,
takes a Secchi measurement and collects 1 to 2 liters of water.
3) Process and store the water sample. The volunteer passes measured amount
of water through filters provided by the LMVP and fills a 60 ml plastic
bottle with lake water. These filters and bottles are stored in the volunteer's
freezer until LMVP staff pick them up. Pick ups are done twice during
the sample season, mid-season and at the end of the season.