Freshwater ecosystems are a vital component to life and require both protection and appreciation.

Friends of Lake Monroe (FLM) was created in 2016 by Sherry Mitchell-Bruker to support water quality and sustainable recreation in Southern Indiana’s Lake Monroe.

To improve the quality and value of an important local resource FLM is dedicated to promoting data, policy, and collaboration. We work with the lake community, government, and local businesses to protect and enhance Lake Monroe and its watershed.

“Our mission is directed toward water quality.”


About The Lake

Lake Monroe was built in 1964 by the US Army Corp of Engineers. Management of the lake and its watershed is a complex combination of federal, state, and private interests. Pursuant to an agreement between the federal and state governments, much of the land immediately surrounding the lake as well as activities on the lake are managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources within its State Park Division. The United States Forest Service also owns land and manages a recreation area on Lake Monroe. Lake Monroe provides recreational boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities to tens of thousands people every year and these recreational activities bring significant revenues to local businesses.

portion of drainage basin in Brown County
portion of drainage basin in Monroe County
portion of drainage basin in Jackson County
portion of drainage basin in Bartholomew County

Lake Monroe drains a hilly and mostly forested watershed of 415 square miles which includes portions of Monroe, Jackson, Brown, Bartholomew, and Lawrence counties. Due to the multi-jurisdictional divisions within the watershed, the development of a comprehensive plan for the lake is a process, but Friends of Lake Monroe is actively seeking funding for the development of a watershed plan. Lake Monroe supplies drinking water to the City of Bloomington and portions of Monroe and Brown Counties in Indiana.

Test results from Lake Monroe show that both algae and mercury concentrations violated the federal clean water standards. As a result, Lake Monroe has been added to the 303(d) list identifying violations of the Clean Water Act. In a 1997 study, Jones et al reported poor water transparency, serious shoreline erosion and excessive phosphorus loading to the lake.  Excessive phosphorus loading is associated with eutrophication, a process in which high phosphorus levels cause an increase in plant production and sedimentation, eventually leading to a decrease in lake volume.

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