Year 2001 Great North American Secchi Dip-In

    The summer of 2001 marks the eighth year of the Great North American Secchi Dip-In. The Dip-In is an international effort in which volunteers produce a "snapshot" of the transparency of water in the United States and Canada. Sponsored by the North American Lake Management Society and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Dip-In is directed by Kent State University biologists, Dr. Robert Carlson and Professor David Waller, and KSU geographer, Dr. Jay Lee.

      Last year volunteers in Iowa participated in the Dip-In through Iowa EarthYear 2000.  This year IOWATER is continuing this project by offering the opportunity to its volunteers.  All trained Level One monitors should be receiving information about how to participate in the Dip-In from Kent State University. 

    During the period from June 30 until July 15, 2001, more than 2,500 volunteers from monitoring programs in the United States and Canada will measure transparency in their favorite lake, reservoir, river or estuary. The IOWATER staff hopes that you will join in. 

    Carlson said that he wanted to find a way to produce a scientific picture of the water quality of the world's lakes. Such a project could only be done using the thousands of volunteers who routinely measure transparency in local programs. The Dip-In is really a chance for volunteers to think and contribute globally by taking a measurement in their local environment.

    Previous Dip-Ins have provided valuable information about water quality. Maps made each year have shown considerable regional differences in transparency. Lakes in the northern parts of the United States and in Canada typically are the clearest, while lakes in agricultural regions of the Midwest have some of the lowest transparencies. Transparencies found during the Dip-In range from one inch to more than 65 feet. Almost 700 sites have been monitored during the Dip-In for four or more years, and, as data accumulates, it may be possible to see if the transparency of lakes in the country is changing over time.

    More information on the Great American Secchi Dip-In, including participating programs and state-by-state results for past Dip-Ins, is available at  For information on how IOWATER monitors can become involved contact Jacklyn Gautsch, IOWATER Field Coordinator at (515) 281- 4476 or [email protected].