A Short History of the Secchi Dip-In
The first Secchi Dip-In began as a pilot study in 1994 conducted by Drs. Robert Carlson, Dave Waller and Jay Lee from Kent State University. During Dip-In ’94, over 800 volunteers from six Midwest states (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) participated, representing a 40% response from the initial solicitation. The results from the first Dip-In suggested that regional patterns in transparency did exist, appearing to correlate with land use and whether the water body was a natural lake or a reservoir.
In 1995, the Dip-In expanded to include volunteers across the entire United States and volunteers from estuary and river volunteer programs were also included. Over 2,000 volunteers from 37 states and 2 provinces of Canada participated in this first year of the expanded program.
When the first Secchi Dip-In was proposed in 1994, it was hoped that the project would make it past one or two years. Thanks to the support of volunteer programs and volunteers, the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Dip-In database has grown to more than 41,000 records on more than 7,000 separate waterbodies, not including different sites, such as along rivers and estuaries.
In 2015, after leading the Secchi Dip-In for 20 years, Dr. Carlson and NALMS entered a long-term agreement transferring the operations of the Dip-In to NALMS.
Since its inception in 1994, the Dip-In had been guided by Robert Carlson, Dave Waller and Jay Lee from Kent State University. Over the years, numerous students from Kent State have assisted with the Dip-In. These students mailed brochures and questionnaires, entered data, checked entries for accuracy, maintained the website and contacted volunteers about missing data. Below is a partial list of the students who have assisted with the Dip-In:
Shuqin An, Triniti Anderson, Dane Arends, Mike Binkley, Carrie Bowser, Mary Chen, Alex Collier, Duane Cozad, Tabitha Dorsey, Jennifer Egner, Eric Espeland, Jacqueline Gorman, Doug Hamilton, Teresa Hurray, Dale Kennedy, Merideth Misner, Julie Morris, Travis Salsbury, Lianghu Tian, Kara Tucker, and Yuling Zhu.
A special thanks to all of the volunteer coordinators and volunteers that have participated over the years. Without your help, there would be no Dip-In.