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Maxinkuckee is an Indian word which has been loosely translated to “diamond lake,”, “clear water,” or “gravelly bottom.” An exact translation is not known. Lake Maxinkuckee is a 1,864 acre kettle lake located in the southwest corner of Marshall County in Union Township and was formed approximately 15,000 years ago by the receding glaciers. Kettle lakes are depressions in the earth’s crust left behind after partially buried ice blocks melt and the depression is filled with water. The lake is 2.6 miles long and 1.6 miles wide with a maximum depth of 88 feet and an average depth of 24 ft. (source – Lake Maxinkuckee Watershed Management Plan, page 11)
There lies beneath the lake one of the best producing aquifer systems in Indiana known as the productive Silurian-Devonian bedrock aquifer. This system contains deposits of glacial material up to 500 feet in thickness with highly productive inter-till sand and gravel aquifers. Lake Maxinkuckee is fed by 21 underground springs stemming from this aquifer.
Between 1899 and 1985 seventeen investigations were conducted on Lake Maxinkuckee. The most extensive survey of the lake was that of the United States Bureau of Fisheries, which maintained a field station on the lake between 1899 and 1914. Known as the Evermann & Clark survey, this two-volume set was published in 1920 by the Indiana Department of Conservation. Except for one 1921 sampling by the Indiana State Board of Health; no other data was found before 1965. From 1965 to today however, Lake Maxinkuckee has had over 60 individual research studies done by various organizations including the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indiana University, Purdue University as well as many studies commissioned by the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council. Armed with this wealth of research and testing, the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council has been instrumental in protecting and preserving the lake and its watershed for more than thirty years. Today, due to these efforts, Lake Maxinkuckee is judged to be in an almost pristine state by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Controlling the growth of invasive weeds, both in the lake and in its watershed; preventing damaging sediment and nutrients from entering the waters of the lake; diminishing lake turbulence which stirs up the lake bottom, re-releasing phosphorus into the water; continuous testing for dangerous bacteria and monitoring algae growth – all of these types of projects are done on an on-going basis by the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council (LMEC) to maintain the lake’s water quality. Other projects include educating the public on how to protect the lake – as well as how to enjoy it through fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; assisting universities with temperature studies; building wetlands, and also conducting entomology and avian studies. Every year, the LMEC reviews the needs of our lake and its watershed, investigating projects for following years. Whether it is building a boardwalk through the Kline wetlands or developing a nature center – both ideas to assist in public education; or taking core samples from the lake bottom to investigate the diatoms and cynobacteria, as well as measuring trace metals and phosphorus (a project just completed in 2013/2014) – all of these things are possibilities for the future.