Lake Minnetonka Water Quality Project
Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota has been a major regional water resource since the 1800s. Its hotels and resorts were replaced by large homes and estates by the 1860s and its 175 km shoreline was well developed by the 1930s. The lake has a complex morphometry with 26 bays and coves that have created varying water quality regions and bottom sediment types. The lake and its catchment have been well studied; however, a lake water quality model has been lacking due to the lake’s complex morphology.
The goals of this project are to apply a model robust enough to capture the system’s large water quality heterogeneity, conduct sensitivity analysis to increase confidence in the model results, and provide an engineering application of the model to aid in management of the lake. The researchers have successfully applied a coupled 3D hydrodynamic (ELCOM) and ecological (CAEDYM) model to a number of bays of Lake Minnetonka, including: parameter calibration and model confirmation (validation); model simulations and the insights gained about the biogeochemical processes; sensitivity and uncertainty analyses by two methods and the model parameter ranking; and examples of ecological application of the model in Lake Minnetonka. Due to the complexity of the model, they rely on MSI services to complete computer simulations, which are impossible to conduct on a regular desktop computer.