Water Quality

The Spirit Lake North Watershed Project

SLPA has recently launched a campaign to fund the Spirit Lake North Watershed Project, which will permanently protect approximately 195.50-acres within the Iowa Great Lakes Watershed in Jackson County, MN. Land protected will become a Waterfowl Production Area owned and managed by the USFWS and open to public recreation.

Big Spirit Lake is home to numerous fish, wildlife and plants. It is also considered to be a drinking water source lake, so quality of water is important to a variety of life forms. Quality water also enhances our quality of life as we also use the lake for recreational purposes. Donations and involvement in this effort have included such items as the Bulrush project in Angler’s Bay, a DNR watershed project, support for stormwater drainage, efforts to monitor hog confinement proximity to the lake and joining with other lake organizations to create the “Clean Water Alliance”. More ongoing and continuing projects include CLAMP, the Reed’s Run Project and the Wallace and Bowers and other North Shore projects.


The SLPA participates in CLAMP (Cooperative Lakes Area Monitoring Program) through the Friends of Iowa Lakeside Lab to assess the continued water quality on Big Spirit. Volunteers test the water three times throughout the summer; data is collected and reported to the Lakeside Lab. The Lakeside Lab has kept this data over time so that we can observe changes in the water quality. All you need to participate in CLAMP is a boat (it can even be a kayak) and interest in testing the water! For more information about CLAMP, please click here http://friendsoflakesidelab.org/cooperative_lakes_area_monitoring_project.htm

Reed’s Run

To reduce excess nutrients and runoff, the SLPA has raised money to for critical land acquisitions.  In 2016, the opportunity to purchase Reed’s Run on the east side of the lake arose. This piece of land had been identified as critical to reduce a large runoff load on that side of the lake. Through fundraising efforts, the SLPA was able to purchase the land and then to transfer ownership and stewardship to the Dickinson County Conservation Board.

Wallace and Bowers/North Shore Project

Besides providing financial resources for projects, SLPA also provides hands-on support. When the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation purchased the Wallace and Bowers property on the north side of Shore Acres, the SLPA was there to assist with reference photos, prairie planting layouts and coordination with the Shore Acres community. Subsequently, when the North Shore project continued the purchase of more critical land on the north shore, the SLPA was there to provide hands-on assistance to INHF. The purchase of these two tracts along the north shore of Big Spirit Lake by INHF came to fruition in 2019.  SLPA provides people resources for such items as observation and reporting and reference photos of the area.

Donations can be made to future water quality projects by going to our donations page.