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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.


Contact Limnology Laboratory, Iowa State University