Apr 02, 2018

Water Quality Monitoring Equipment Installed in Bear Lake

The equipment will monitor water quality, weather information and water lost of evaporation

Water quality monitoring in Bear Lake

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) installed water quality and weather monitoring equipment on Bear Lake, which straddles the Utah-Idaho border. The equipment will provide near real-time information to the public and water managers beginning in early April and continuing through 2022.

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

Starting in early April, two pontoon-type platforms with USGS monitoring equipment will be deployed onto Bear Lake to collect high-quality data through Sept. 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.