The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is asking citizens to document one of the most important indicators of spring for the state - the date on which ice disappears from a lake, or lake ice-off.
Lake ice-off is an important milestone for the state each year, particularly for anglers and water enthusiasts who've been waiting all winter to launch their crafts-and themselves--into the water again. But lake ice data - the dates of both its appearance and disappearance - could also be an indicator of changing climate trends.
The MPCA collects ice-on and ice-off data and makes it available to researchers and the Department of Natural Resources' State Climatology Office. The more data available to researchers, the better they can track climate trends and their effects on lake health, local wildlife, and citizen lake use. Citizen observers make it possible to maintain records of ice data across the state on a huge numbers of lakes.
All ice-off dates, any clarifying definitions, and questions can be emailed directly to the MCPA's ice data collection program at ice.pcastate.mn.us.