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  • Writer's pictureAmber Lively

Know Before You Go: What To Consider Before You Enjoy The Big Sioux Lakes and Streams

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

This year, it feels like summer came early! The warm temperatures have many flocking to lakes and streams within the Big Sioux River watershed. So, what do you need to know before you head to the water? We've got you covered!

  • Wear proper footwear

All natural bodies of water are subject to debris compounding along the bottom. That means all of the stray fish hooks, sharp rocks, and aluminum cans that end up in our lakes and streams and can cause injury if stepped on. You should always wear some sort of a hard-bottomed shoe to prevent injury, ESPECIALLY if you are in a body of water that is cloudy and full of sediment.

  • Be mindful of recent weather

Immediately following a rainfall or significant storm, limit contact with the water. Runoff from lawns, crops, and streets can cause increased levels of bacterial and chemical contaminants. We saw great examples of this following the derecho on 5 July and the 5 inches of rainfall over the Sioux Falls area on 7 August 2022. Water samples taken at Lien Park in Sioux Falls reported exceptionally high levels of E. coli, TSS, and nitrates following rainfall events, and high winds contributed to high levels of E. coli in the river as well.

This doesn't mean you CAN'T enjoy the Big Sioux after it rains, but you should be particularly cautious when you make contact with the water, and avoid ingesting untreated water.

  • Sanitize your hands thoroughly before handling food or drink

It is always important to stay properly nourished and hydrated, but, when you're on the water, be sure to add a sanitation step into your routine. Sanitizing your hands before touching your water bottle, snack, or meal helps prevent contamination that could lead to illness.


As always, use your best judgement on your own skillset to navigate rough waters, and be wary of currents or other hazards in the water. As you enjoy the watershed this summer, send your favorite moments to bigsiouxriverproject@gmail.com and tell us how you enjoy the
Big Sioux River Watershed!

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