Unless you have flown over the region or seen aerial photographs, it is hard to grasp the scale of the millions of lakes and wetlands that dot the prairie landscape of the glaciated Northern Great Plains (Figure 1). This region of abundant aquatic habitats within a grassland matrix provides for the needs of a wide diversity of wildlife species and has appropriately been deemed the "duck factory of North America." While the sheer number of lakes and wetlands within this area of the Northern Great Plains can be truly awe-inspiring, their diversity in terms of the chemical composition of their water adds an equally important component supporting biotic diversity and productivity. Water within these lakes and wetlands can range from extremely fresh with salinities approaching that of rainwater to hypersaline with salinity ten times greater than that of seawater. Additionally, while variation in salinity among these water bodies can be great, the ionic composition of lakes and wetlands with similar salinities can vary markedly, influencing the overall spatial and temporal diversity of the region's biota.