Lake water quality monitoring & protection

Most lake water quality monitoring in Washington is currently conducted by counties, local health departments, lake associations, and volunteer groups. Our scientists coordinate algae and invasive-plant monitoring and participate in a periodic national survey. We test several lakes annually for toxic chemicals.

Red research canoe sits on lake edge.

We also keep a statewide clearinghouse for lake data from across the state. This includes historical monitoring and current sampling by Ecology scientists and data compiled under Ecology-funded projects by local governments. Data, including some photographs and lake-bottom maps (bathymetry), are found in the lakes module of the Coastal Atlas database. Look up a lake below.

See the Lakes Environmental Data for the full database.

We coordinated a large lake-monitoring program from 1989 – 1999 to identify statewide water quality concerns. We tested for dissolved oxygen, water clarity, temperature, and contaminants. While this program is no longer funded, we maintain this data. We also monitor some lakes each year for toxic metals and other chemicals.

We participate in EPA's National Lakes Assessment every five years. Data are collected on a random sampling of lakes representing different regions of the state.  We partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on this project in 2007, 2012, and 2017. We will report on the 2017 research when analysis is complete.

Resources and links

Publications Legal standards Aquatic weed control Algae and cyanobacteria Toxic chemicals in fish and lake sediments
Eastern Washington lake with scientist in foreground.