Water quality varies throughout the day, day-to-day, weekly, monthly (due to weather), and seasonally (due to climate), therefore, many lake managers will design a program that can collect enough data to realize these variation over time. Depending on the goals of the lake monitoring program and how much is already known about a site’s water quality, the comprehensiveness or duration of the monitoring programs will vary.
Seasonal Lake Monitoring
Winter: perform site visit when weather is cooler and there is less variation in the lake’s water column
Spring: install data loggers to continuously record measurements from specific locations/depths within the lake to see how it mixes
Summer: deploy a real time data collection system to understand the patterns and trends in water quality as temperature rise and plant and algae growth begins
Fall: switch back to loggers to capture mixing patterns
Recommended Lake Monitoring Equipment
My preferred brand for sondes is In-Situ as they are competitively priced, reliable, user-friendly, and have good customer service and tech support. I use this manufacturer because their equipment is designed to use Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone/tablet which eliminates the need to buy an additional handheld meter to read the data.
This saves money and allows you to link GPS signals to your data. You can email, text or upload your data right from the field. No more spending time at your desk downloading and processing data.
Rental Lake Monitoring Equipment
Sondes get expensive quickly once you take into account maintenance and replacement parts. For this reason, renting lake monitoring equipment on a month-to-month or yearly contract may be more appealing. e limnology, inc. owns this equipment and can rent it out for about 20% less than renting directly from the manufacturer. However, we will need to either provide a service contract to ensure that the equipment is cleaned and maintained on long term deployments or have an agreement that the client will perform the servicing on our behalf.