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About Lake Minnetonka

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Lake Independence

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This mid-sized (344 hectares = 851 acres) lake is located about 15 miles west of Minneapolis just north of the small town of Maple Plain, MN. The lake has a maximum depth of 18 m (58 feet) and is typical of a number of lakes located in the Twin Cities metropolitan area that are prized for both recreational value and residential development. People in this area are becoming increasingly aware of the impacts these activities have on water quality.

Although situated in a primarily agricultural watershed, the shoreline of lake Independence is relatively lightly developed. There are 192 permanent and summer homes along its 11.4 km of shoreline. Only the far north shoreline remains undeveloped. Morris Baker County Park takes up the entire southeast shoreline with a boat launch, swimming beaches, picnic areas, and campground. The lake experiences heavy recreational use on a typical summer weekend, including swimming, boating, and water skiing.

The Hennepin Parks Department (HP) and the Lake Independence Citizens Association (LICA) have taken responsibility for the management of water quality in Lake Independence. LICA has been concerned about water quality in the lake because it experiences frequent blue-green algae blooms and has been invaded by the exotic macrophyte, Eurasian Water Milfoil, presumably from nearby Lake Minnetonka.

Because the lake no longer meets the water quality needs of both HP and its lakeshore property owners, a diagnostic feasibility study was initiated in 1996. Monitoring by HP has been biweekly since 1997 for a suite of water quality parameters. RUSS and ancillary Lake Access data will supplement these efforts.

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