Live Data

Solar-powered data fills in the details.

The Lilly Center has studied 12 local all-sport lakes weekly through the summer since 2007. Year-round since 2014, we’ve studied the major streams surrounding six of these lakes. That’s a lot of data, but until 2018, we didn’t have as complete a picture of the local waterways as we’d like. Now, with these continuous flow sensors, we have live data at our fingertips to fill in the details.

Our continuous flow monitors consist of two main parts: the sensor that sits in the stream and the box, mounted outside of the stream, that receives and sends out the data. The sensor is solar powered and uses Doppler technology to measure how fast particles are moving through the water all around it. The sensor also knows the shape of the stream all around it, which we calculated and uploaded to the equipment while installing it. Using the shape and speed of the water at various points across the stream, the sensor calculates the volume of water moving through the stream every second. The monitor also measures a variety of other valuable features of the water, such as the temperature and the total depth of the stream. (Click here to learn about the parameters displayed to the right of the graphs!)

With all this new information, the Lilly Center is can assess many aspects of lake health. To this point, we’ve studied:

  • Boating impacts
  • Starry stonewort
  • Zebra mussels
  • Economic impacts
  • Watershed contributions
  • Historical trends
  • Blue-green algae toxins
  • Changing water levels
  • …and more!

With three trained aquatic scientists and many dedicated science students on our staff, coupled with your investment, the flow sensors are a strategic expansion of our research expertise and equipment. They will help determine the most effective actions for your lake going forward.