Lake Minnetonka's western bays were frozen solid. Just off the shore in Cooks Bay, garbage trucks could safely drive right above the icy water.
This isn't the logical time to study a lake. But for a team led by University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers, that was the point: They want to know how shortening winters — and less ice cover on lakes — may increase the presence of harmful algae blooms and impact the fishery.
Aside from people who ice fish, the general assumption is that not much happens in lakes during winter, said Andy Bramburger, a research associate from the U's Duluth campus.