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Gerold recognized for volunteer service

Janna Gerold of Dent was recently recognized by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for completing five years of volunteer service to the agency's Citizen Lake Monitoring Program.

As part of the program, Gerold visits East Silent Lake in Otter Tail County each week during the summer and conducts a simple test to assess the clarity of the lake. Water clarity is an important indicator that helps scientists understand the health of a water body.

"In much the same way that blood pressure can alert a doctor to changes in a patient's health, a robust record of data on water clarity can help scientists track the health of a stream or lake," said Laurie Sovell, a volunteer coordinator at the MPCA.

Gerold is among 1,700 volunteers statewide who participate in the Citizen Lake and Citizen Stream Monitoring programs.

The MPCA needs more volunteers like Gerold to monitor water quality on Minnesota's lakes and streams during the summer months. Volunteers commit to visiting their lakes or streams weekly from spring through fall. The monitoring itself takes very little time and is easy to do. The MPCA provides volunteers with the needed equipment, as well as training on how to use it.

Lake monitors must have access to a boat or canoe, but stream monitoring is conducted from a bridge or along the stream's banks. The data is most useful if a volunteer can commit to participating in the program over several consecutive years. This continuous data record helps scientists determine whether water quality is changing over time.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, call Johanna Schussler (for the lakes program) or Laurie Sovell (for the streams program) at the MPCA at 651-296-6300 or toll-free at 800-657-3864. More information is available at