2016 Secchi Dip-In – Celebrate Lakes Appreciation Month with us!

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July 2016

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(Current sampling locations are focused within the United States and Canada.)

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Secchi Dip-In 2016

(View our printable flyers!  –  Secchi Dip-In 2016 FlyerLakes Appreciation Month Flyer)

2016 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Dip-In and the 151st anniversary of the very first Secchi dip by Father Pietro Angelo Secchi. Each summer Dip-In participants add their water transparency measurements to a unique effort and thus demonstrate that they are an invaluable part of the effort to monitor lakes around the world. We invite you to celebrate Lakes Appreciation Month by participating in the July 2016 Secchi Dip-In!

  1. ORGANIZE  –  Use SciStarter to plan a Secchi Dip-In social event. Create and distribute advertisements locally.
  2. SHARE your activities on social media!
  3. SUBMIT your data to the Secchi Dip-In Online Database.
  4. FEEDBACK  –  Share your thoughts! E-mail secchidipin@nalms.org.



Management of the Secchi Dip-In program, founded by eminent limnologist Dr. Robert Carlson, was transferred to the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) in April 2015.

Dr. Carlson wanted to ensure the Dip-In endured after his retirement from Kent State University, the longtime home of the Dip-In. NALMS was a natural choice to carry on that legacy, given a long history of supporting Secchi Dip-In efforts and the strength which which the Dip-In supports the mission of NALMS, “to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow.”

Updates  –  2016

The Secchi Dip-In focuses on working with volunteer monitoring programs to collect lake data. Here are the few changes you may notice:

  • Periodic updates will be made to the Dip-In website at secchidipin.org.
  • E-mails sent to secchidipin@nalms.org will likely be answered by the Secchi Dip-In Intern, hired to manage the Dip-In day-to-day.
  • In 2016, we plan on improving the Secchi Dip-In database and how you enter your data.
  • In 2016, we are planning to provide video demonstrations of taking measuremts with a secchi disk.

Dip-In Basics

The Secchi Dip-In  monitors water transparency (sometimes, using a secchi disk), which provides a wealth of information. Transparency is sensitive to changes in nutrient levels and to changes in the temperature structure of the lake. Transparency and turbidity can be measured by a variety of instruments in most every aquatic habitat. The Dip-In also welcomes measurements of water temperature.

  • Participants take a Secchi measurement on one day during the month of July.
  • Participants monitor lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, rivers, or streams, however they must already have the simple equipment and training to do so.
  • Many Dip-In participants are members of an established volunteer or professional monitoring program. The Dip-In encourages monitoring programs to use this event to highlight their local efforts. However, individuals and informal groups of participants are also welcome to complete training and submit data.
  • When 5 or more years of data have been gathered on a site, it is used to determine trends in transparency. The Dip-In currently tracks over 2,000 waterbodies for trends in transparency.


Why Volunteer Monitoring?

Budget cuts at all levels of government have hampered the ability of resource agencies to effectively monitor the conditions of lakes and reservoirs. Through the efforts of volunteers like you, and volunteer monitoring programs, the Secchi Dip-In is able to economically contribute to an understanding of the status and trends of water quality in North America. These contributions have become even more important as we witness more and more changes in our environment due to climate change. You can make a difference, both for local efforts and for the world.

Common Questions

1) What are the dates of the Dip-In?

All of July!

Dip-In dates as we always have. Since the Dip-In was originally conceived as taking place during the US Fourth of July and Canada Day, over the years the “official” dates of the Dip-In have moved around a bit over the years depending on which days of the week Canada Day (July 1) and Independence Day fell. As a result, the length of the Dip-In changed from year-to-year.


2) Why not get transparency data directly from volunteer monitoring programs?

The Dip-In requests transparency data from volunteers rather than from monitoring programs for many reasons, including the lack of staff capacity to request data every year from hundreds of programs, check the data, and enter it in the Dip-In database format. There are unique ID codes for volunteer, lake, and program that must be added for each record and each record is checked so that the proper lake is correctly associated (e.g., there are 5 Trout lakes in Itasca County, Minnesota alone). It is a time-consuming effort to enter a single program’s data into our database.

Perhaps even more important is that Secchi Dip-In also asks for information that most programs do not, such as participants’ opinion about what they perceive to be current problems in their lake and perceptions of water quality change. Transparency is not the only information of interest.

Do you have more questions?

Visit our Help/FAQ page, which covers many common questions.


Contact Us

Share your thoughts or ask a question by e-mailing us at secchidipin@nalms.org.  You can also find Secchi Dip-In via: