LakeLine 40-1: Lake Browning


This issue of LakeLine explores topics related to lake browning. Now, most of us probably worry about our lakes turning green (or even blue-green, for that matter) from increases in algal growth over time. Most of us can recall the spectrum of lakes we’ve had an opportunity to visit, from very dark brown tannic (or tea- colored) waters that are hard to see into, to only slightly colored waters, to the waterbodies that appear crystal clear and colorless, where you can see far down into the depths. But there is more to lake browning than the color of the water and how far we can see into the lake. Lake browning is an actual process, with causal factors, it is happening over time, and it has some pretty complex ramifications for lakes and aquatic life. There is even evidence that brown is a natural state for many lakes, and that after decades, and more likely centuries of flux, lakes are reverting back to brown.