From: National Science Foundation
Published October 24, 2017 02:16 PM

A fresh look at fresh water: Researchers create a 50,000-lake database

Countless numbers of vacationers spent this summer enjoying lakes for swimming, fishing and boating. But are they loving these lakes to death?

The water quality of the nation's lakes is threatened not only by the things people do in and around them, but, say scientists, by less obvious factors such as agriculture and changes in climate. Because lakes are as distinct as one snowflake from another, they may respond differently to these challenges.

To better understand the complex factors that threaten lake water quality, scientists need data on many lakes in various environmental settings. Unfortunately, much of the lake and geographic data needed for such studies is not easily accessible. The datasets exist in multiple formats in government, university and private databases – and sometimes in file drawers.

Now, a new "geography of lake water quality," called LAGOS, is allowing scientists to understand lakes in ways that will better inform water policy and management. LAGOS, or the LAke multi- scaled GeOSpatial and temporal database, includes information on 50,000 lakes in 17 U.S. Northeastern and upper Midwestern states.

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