Shallow Lake Survey Project

What is a shallow lake survey? It is a protocol developed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to assess current habitat conditions and management effectiveness. The biology crew at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge took a canoe out on the lake each morning and paddled to a series of pre-determined sample points with the help of a GPS unit. At each point, they recorded water depth, water clarity, and vegetation. To collect the aquatic vegetation, they threw a rake into the water and dragged it along the bottom of the lake to pull up samples of submerged plants in the area. Then they identified the plants and recorded their findings. Over 30 plant species were recorded during this survey.


The objective of these surveys was to assess Refuge management efforts and conservation opportunities. The multiple lakes on the Refuge can provide important food sources and habitat for a variety of wildlife species. Aquatic plants growing in the lake are an essential part of the food chain and these lakes provide habitat for insects, fish and mammals like otters and muskrats. They also serve as places of respite for waterfowl during their long migrations. The biology staff continually monitors the lakes on the Refuge to enable best practices for wildlife and water management.