About West Pond:
This summer, we are launching a new & evolving series of interactive data visualizations, or VIZZES.
The first of these focuses on lake water transparency in 1,046 Maine lakes. Explore a chart of Secchi values to see how ‘your’ lake ranks among all surveyed lakes. Click on a lake’s Secchi data and find this lake’s location on a map.
Go directly to this VIZ by clicking on the thumbnail, below. See this and other maps on our Data Visualizations page.
Water Transparency & an Italian Priest
There are over 140,000 Secchi readings from Maine lakes on this website—most of them collected by volunteers. The circular disk, familiar to all lake citizen scientists, was invented in 1865 by an Italian Jesuit priest, Pietro Angelo Secchi. He had been invited to join a research cruise on a ship (the “Immacolata Concezione”) of the Pontifical Navy to find an objective method to measure water clarity. Secchi’s original white disk was modified in 1899 by an American civil engineer, George Whipple, to the black and white version we now use.
Angelo Secchi was an extremely accomplished scientist. While his main field of scientific interest was astronomical spectroscopy, he also studied meteorology and oceanography. For a while, he taught at Georgetown University before returning to Rome in 1850. Over his career, he published over 700 scientific works.
For more information on Angelo Secchi, here is one source.
To access the various data sets containing Secchi data, click here.
Most water quality data on this website have been collected by Lake Stewards of Maine’s volunteer citizen lake scientists, many of whom have been monitoring lakes for multiple decades. Here is Bob’s story.
Click here to view current water quality conditions on a representative sample of Maine lakes during summer, or view which lakes have experienced ice-cover in the fall and ice-out in the spring.
LakesOfMaine.org sees more than 1,000,000 pageviews annually.
Contact us for exciting sponsorship opportunities.