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How clean is the lake? Check this Website

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Conservation Minnesota introduces a Web site that makes it easy to check on anyone's favorite Minnesota lake.

This summer, Minnesota families who want to know if their favorite Minnesota lake is clean enough for swimming and eating fish caught in the lake have an easy way to find out -- http://www.checkmylake.org.

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Powered by Conservation Minnesota for the second year, the site assembles monitoring data on thousands of lakes collected by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) into a user-friendly data base. It helps Minnesotans find out whether their favorite lakes are clean or polluted -- or haven't been tested yet, which is true of a large majority.

By going to http://www.checkmylake.org, the Web site's users can either type in the name of a favorite Minnesota lake or type in a county name and choose from among a list to find out whether lakes have been tested and what the results show.

Last year, over 25,000 Minnesotans consulted http://www.checkmylake.org. This year, visitors will find new features:

• Links to lake-specific information on fish contaminant advisories;

• Whether a specific lake has been identified by the state as having aquatic invasive species;

• The most recent data base on statewide lake safety compiled from state records.

According to the MPCA, only 14 percent of Minnesota streams and 18 percent of Minnesota lakes larger than 10 acres have been tested. Of those tested, approximately 40 percent of waters are found to be 'impaired.' One-third of the money from the voter-approved Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment will be appropriated by the Legislature to test and clean up waters.

"Our 10,000 lakes help define Minnesota for all of us who live here," said Paul Austin, Conservation Minnesota's executive director. "Having information at hand on the health and safety of our lakes empowers all of us to make decisions affecting our health."

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