Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Project (CLAMP)
The Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Project
(CLAMP) began in 1999 as an inspiration of the Friends of Lakeside Lab, local
lake organizations and the Dickinson County Clean Water Alliance. The goal was
to address the need for a long-term, unified approach to monitoring Dickinson
County lakes. CLAMP is coordinated by Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and is supported
by the Friends of Lakeside Lab, the Dickinson County Water Quality Commission,
the Okoboji Protective Association, the Spirit Lake Protective Association, and
the East Okoboji Lakes Improvement Incorporation. Also, starting in 2005, CLAMP
began a working relationship with the Iowa State Limnology Laboratory, which
will result in volunteer data being accessible via the internet as part of the
Iowa Lakes Information System.
Over 100 volunteers have trained and
participated in CLAMP since its inception in 1999. CLAMP volunteers sample nine
lakes in Dickinson County: Big Spirit Lake, Center Lake, East Okoboji Lake,
Little Spirit Lake, Lower Gar Lake, Minnewashta Lake, Silver Lake, Upper Gar Lake, and West
Okoboji Lake. By volunteering their time, CLAMP participants cut program costs
in half, and at the same time have the opportunity to learn more about lake
ecology and water quality issues. Volunteers collect field data including
secchi depth, dissolved oxygen and temperature, and collect water samples for
laboratory analysis including total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen, total
phosphorus, chlorophyll “a”, phytoplankton and microcystin analysis.
CLAMP is one component of several water quality
research projects conducted out of Lakeside Lab in the Iowa Great Lakes region.
CLAMP monitors in-lake conditions, while the goals of other projects include
developing a nutrient budget for the lakes, identifying major nutrient inputs,
evaluating the effect of different types of land use on water quality, and
determining the effectiveness of conservation agriculture practices on reducing
nutrient loading. Anyone who wishes to become a CLAMP volunteer should contact
Jane Shuttleworth, CLAMP Volunteer Coordinator, at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory:
712-337-3669, ext 7.