That trend could be harmful to plants, animals, and humans if it continues.
The study looked at inland lakes across the Midwest and Northeast – including Michigan.
Jonathan Doubek is one of the co-authors on the study. He said the salt is likely run-off from places where human development is present – particularly road salt.
“About 40-45 percent of lakes in Michigan have at least one percent of development and I think there’s only a few lakes from Michigan in the study but there is definitely potential a lot of Lakes, especially in the lower peninsula, could have these long term chloride increases.”
Doubek said that if the trend continues it could have a significant impact on the local ecosystem.
“A lot of studies across a wide variety of aquatic species such as fish, for example, clams, and mussels, and also plankton. Have had decreased reproduction, decreased growth rates, and decreased survival. And if you get to a certain point for a lot of organisms you can have death as well.”
Doubek said the increasing salinity could be catastrophic to the local ecosystem by as early as 2050.