Samantha Oliver: Lake Trends Mostly Static

University of Wisconsin: Center for Limnology

Over the last few decades, change has defined our environment in the United States. Agriculture intensified. Urban areas sprawled. The climate warmed. Intense rainstorms became more common. But, says a new study, while those kinds of changes usually result in poor water quality, lakes have mostly stayed the same.

The authors of the article, published online today by the journal Global Change Biology, assessed changes in measures of water quality, including plant nutrients and algal growth in in 2,913 U.S. lakes from 1990 to about 2011. The researchers found that, “despite large environmental change and management efforts over recent decades, water quality of lakes in the Midwest and Northeast U.S. has not overwhelmingly degraded or improved.”