Johnson and Reeves Lake are both moderately developed, natural environment lakes locate south of the City of Detroit Lakes. The two lakes sit north and south relative to each other and are connected via a natural channel on the east side of them. A prominent wetland fringe surround both of the lakes, unrooted portions of which often detach and are moved around the lakes by wind and water currents. The channel between the two lakes sometimes becomes blocked by floating bogs, making watercraft passage between the two impossible. Johnson lakes lies to south and is larger in size than in northern neighbor, totaling 219.6 acres in size and reaches a depth of 30 feet. Reeves is slightly smaller in size, 146.6 acres, and is 43 feet at in deepest points. Johnson and Reeves both have both have similar littoral areas that are 63% and 61% of the lake surface area, respectively.
Water quality has remained stable over the last 20 year period with average clarity of 9ft on Johnson Lake and 10 ft on Reeves Lake. Total phosphorus levels are also stable on the two lakes, averaging 26 ppb and 27 ppb. Both lakes are considered mesotrophic with moderately clear water. Both lakes do stratify in the summer months, developing and anoxic layer below 4-5 meters (13-16 feet).
The primary source of surface water input to the lake is stormwater runoff from the large drainage area of 4,576 acres. There is a small amount of water the travels via wetland stream from Abbey Lake to the north in to Reeves. Reeves Lake also outlets via a wetland stream to Nottage Lake. Groundwater interactions also play a prominent role in the water budget.
Residential development is located on the peninsula which extends between the two lake from the west. There is also a small campground located on that peninsula, which also contains the only boat access to the lake (private access). In recent years, there have been several residential homes constructed on the north and east side of Reeves Lake. Due to the extensive wetland fringe around the lake, only a few location allow lake access from riparian properties. In some location where the wetland fringe is not as prominent, access to the lake has been obtained by removing portions of the wetland vegetation.
The drainage area has a high land:lake ratio of 136:1, and receives surface water inputs primarily from surface water runoff, make it highly susceptible changes in land use and development. Land cover in the drainage area is primarily forest and grassland, which total 53% (2256 acres) and 28% (1165 acres) , respectively. Wetland make up 10% (423 acres), cropland 6% (240 acres) and developed land accounts for only 150 acres (3.5%) of the land area.
Water clarity on both lake was lower than average. Johnson Lake clarity was about 1 foot lower than average while Reeves was over 2 feet below average. It is apparent from the 2016 Results (below) that the heavy rainfall in July caused declined water clarity and nutrient level in both lakes. While the phosphorous lever were slightly above average, they were well within the range of natural variability.