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March 30, 2018

Bear Lake will house water quality and weather monitoring equipment that will provide near real-time information to the public and water managers beginning in early April and continuing through 2022.

Bear Lake to Receive Water Quality and Weather Monitoring Equipment
(Photo credit: YSI)

The platform installation is product of a new U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with Bear Lake Watch, PacifiCorp, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Bear Lake straddles the Utah-Idaho border and attracts thousands of visitors each year. As the area’s population increases and lake inflows and outflows change, understanding the water quality and quantity of the lake is important for resource managers to make informed decisions.

Starting in early April, two pontoon-type platforms with USGS monitoring equipment will be deployed onto Bear Lake to collect high-quality data through September 2022. The equipment will take near real-time weather and water-quality measurements, such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, depth, pH, wind speed, as well as others to assess a variability of associated parameters around the lake. USGS scientists will use the collected information to also estimate evaporation rates.

“Using science to plan for the future of Bear Lake is crucial,” said Dave Cottle, Executive Director of Bear Lake Watch. “Understanding how much water is being lost to evaporation is an important step in helping to preserve and protect Bear Lake. This study will also provide water-quality information that can help water managers identify potential problems before they become critical.”

The platforms will look similar to small boats, but will not interfere with recreational activities on the lake. The public is asked to steer clear of the platforms and not disturb the equipment onboard. One platform will be stationary and located in deep water on the east side of the lake, near the Utah-Idaho border. The second platform will be deployed at up to five different locations during the project. Platforms will be removed during the winter to avoid ice damage.

Once equipment is up and running, results will be available online.

Bear Lake to Receive Water Quality and Weather Monitoring Equipment
(Photo Credit: YSI)

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