White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog

Webinar July 13th – Microplastics Update & Fish Sample Collection

Microplastics are very small plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters (or 1/20th of an inch) in size. They come from common items such as degraded plastic bags, synthetic clothes and textiles, some hygiene products, and cigarette filters. They are found across terrestrial, aquatic, and marine environments worldwide. These particles are speculated to negatively impact the aquatic environments and ecosystems, however, it is not known with certainty where these particles are in aquatic environments. Research is currently being done to learn how much and what kinds of microplastics are found in four Minnesota sentinel lakes: Peltier, Elk, White Iron, and Ten Mile. Additionally, the research project is designed to engage community members in part of the research process, and communicate about microplastics and project results. So far, plastics have been found in the waters and on the bottom of the lake in the sediment of all four study lakes. In the fall of 2020, researchers will begin dissecting two types of fish to see if there are any plastics in their guts: 1) filter feeders (cisco) and 2) visual feeders (bluegill and perch). Fish will be collected by the research team and also by community members who are interested in collaborating on the project. Anglers can submit fish stomachs throughout the year for research staff to dissect and analyze for any microplastic consumption. More details, including how to join the citizen scientist team, can be found on the project website: www.mnplastics.org

Webinar scheduled for July 13th at 9 a.m.  The research team will be hosting a webinar to provide updates and talk about the opportunity for anglers to participate in sample collection. Anyone who is interested in learning more about microplastics in Minnesota lakes is welcome to attend. Again, White Iron will be one of the featured lakes.

Title: Small Synthetics - A Study of Microplastics in Minnesota’s Inland Waters

Where: Comfort of own home, via Zoom

When: Monday, July 13th from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Registration is required: https://umn.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3LfTRmHmRbG1h0OKNLcGEA

Can't make it? The presentation will be recorded and available at www.mnplastics.org

Community (citizen) science: The Research Team is ready to receive fish stomachs from anglers who want to contribute to the project! They are looking for anglers who can commit to sending 10 fish gut samples from one of the four project lakes (White Iron, Elk, Ten Mile, and Peltier) in 2020. Additional information on how to process and where to ship samples is located at www.mnplastics.org. If people want a fish gut collection kit, they can inquire with Dr. Schreiner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Someone from her lab will reply and send volunteers a postage paid envelope and collection materials if samples are still needed. Samples are mailed to: Large Lakes Observatory, 2205 E 5th St., Duluth MN 55812. 

More about the project: The Legislative Citizen-Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) funded the two yearlong microplastics project in 2019, and it concludes 2021. The microplastics project team is led by Dr. Kathryn Schreiner, a researcher from the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD), and comprised of additional researchers from UMD, the Sentinel Lakes program coordinator from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and an extension staff from Minnesota Sea Grant. Questions about the project can be directed to: Dr. Kathryn SchreinerThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Questions about outreach can be directed to Marte KitsonThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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