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Miller Lake Photo Gallery
Changes in land use, such as conversion of prairie to row-crop agriculture and changes in climate such as increases in precipitation cause changes in the rates of sediment erosion. It is important to understand why erosion changes or accelerates so that management practices can be designed to minimize the loss of fertile soil and the degradation of our waters.
Lakes archive the sediment erosion history of their watersheds. Sediment cores from the bottom of lakes are a way to look back in time and see how and why sediment erosion has changed.
Miller Lake in Carver County, Minnesota is an excellent site to examine erosion history from sediment cores. Miller Lake is fed by Carver Creek, which drains a large area of farmland and increasing urbanization. Before European settlement this watershed was a mix of prairie and big woods. The history from the last 200 years of how the land has been used and the effects on soil erosion and water quality are stored 15 feet below the surface of the lake in the black, gooey mud.
In September of 2007 the St. Croix Watershed Research Station's Shawn Schottler, Dylan Blumentritt and Jill Coleman Wasik collected three sediment cores from the lake. They were accompanied by Greg Aamodt and Tiffany Babich from the Carver County Soil and Water Conservation District.