ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota's bitterly cold weather this week may have driven many residents to stay cooped up indoors, but environmental experts say the frigid temperatures have an advantage.

Experts say subzero weather can be good for the state's many lakes by curbing the growth of harmful algae and reducing water loss.

Extended cold weather covers lakes with thick ice, keeping water temperatures cooler in the spring. Lakes that freeze often see fewer harmful algal blooms in the summer and some fish species benefit from lower temperatures.

Minnesota aquatic biologist Valerie Brady says thicker ice can help slow the growth of invasive species that prefer shallow water, such as zebra mussels. Brady says another positive benefit of the cold is slowing lakes' loss of water due to evaporation in warmer weather.