Statewide public lake monitoring since 1989

The Indiana Clean Lakes Program is a multifaceted water monitoring and education program developed in partnership with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) Office of Water Quality. IDEM developed the program in 1989, and it is administered through Indiana University's O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

The success of this program is dependent upon a wide range of participants, from volunteer Citizen Scientists to graduate student laboratory and field technicians to the overall lake enthusiast.  

Our overall objectives include:

INCLP conducts annual water quality assessments on 70-80 publicly accessible lakes. These include natural and man-made lakes distributed randomly throughout the state of Indiana. The Clean Water Act (CWA) asks states to report waters which do not or are not projected to meet relevant water quality standards. In order to assist local, state, and federal water quality efforts, data collected from these assessments are used to update the lake classification system and management plan; in addition to updating Sections 305(b) and 303(d) (listing of impaired waterbodies) of the U.S. EPA's CWA.

Water quality parameters assessed include:

  • Temperature
  • Conductivity
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Secchi disk transparency
  • Percent light transmission
  • pH
  • Total plankton
  • Acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC)
  • Ammonium-nitrogen
  • Total nitrogen
  • Nitrate-nitrogen
  • Total phosphorus
  • Orthophosphate
  • Chlorophyll α

Download the Quality Assurance Project Plan for Indiana Clean Lakes Program

The Volunteer Lake Monitoring expands upon the water quality assessments of the statewide program by training volunteer citizen scientists to collect data on the lake where they live or most frequently recreate. Data from citizen scientists allows the Indiana Clean Lakes Program to track more long term trends in specific lakes than would be cost effective for the statewide monitoring program. The program has multiple levels of monitoring available depending on the needs of the lake community and the volunteer's time commitment.

Volunteers monitor for multiple parameters including:

  • Secchi disk transparency
  • Temperature and Dissolved Oxygen
  • Total Phosphorus and Chlorophyll α
  • Invasive Species
  • Algal Blooms

The InCLP provides various education and outreach opportunities for anyone interested in lake science. We can reach many citizens thru our Water Column newsletters, announcements, a variety of workshops, conferences, and overall technical assistance.

Our engagement includes:

  • Water Column Newsletters
  • Sponsor and present at the annual Indiana Lakes Management Society
  • Trainings and workshops: Lake Science 101, Aquatic Macrophyte ID and Mapping, Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring, etc.
  • Lake Association programs and assistance: technical assistance on their lake and data interpretation, develop programs and workshops for the specific needs of these groups, etc.


Blue skies and greenery surround a placid lake
Bald eagle in branches overlooking lake.
A sailboat glides by houses
Sign by water reads "Boats 10 mph"