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Watershed connections to Lake Erie water quality: the algal loadinghypothesis

"Intensive work to reduce the phosphorus load from it's watershed  improved Lake Erie's water quality through 1995, but water quality has  since declined, resulting in recurring harmful algal blooms throughout  the lake and summer hypolimnetic hypoxia in the central basin.  We  hypothesized that input of live biological material (especially algae)  from large tributaries directly contributed to the offshore processes  causing algal blooms and hypoxia.  To test this hypothesis, we  proposed three objectives: 1) to determine the amounts and types of  algal loading from a large Lake Erie watershed; 2) to determine the  growth and "bloom formation capacity" of various algal communities;  and 3) to identify management strategies to remediate tributary algal  loading effects.    Working in the Sandusky River, Bay, and subbasin, we found extremely  high phytoplankton biomasses in the river and bay, with phytoplankton  growth only limited by light availability because nutrient  concentrations were extremely high.  These nutrient-replete  phytoplankton were "primed" for growth once transported offshore,  thereby supporting our hypothesis.  Thus the watershed's biological  loads are important components of offshore Lake Erie beneficial use  impairments, namely, eutrophication due to excessive nutrient loading,  degradation of biological communities and aesthetics by harmful algal  blooms, and loss of fish or other wildlife habitat due to hypoxia."

Status
In progress
Type
Project
Start Date
End Date
Researchers
David CulverPrincipal Investigator
Associated with 1 projects
Agencies
Lake Erie Protection Fund $ 1.00USDEstimates

Funding 6 projects for a total of $45,001.00
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Physical/Chemical
Impact of Pollutants
Nutrients, Including Phosphorus
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Erie
State Province
Ohio
Purpose of Project
Loadings Determination
Beneficial Use Impairment Assessments
Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae
Ecosystem Effects
Nutrient / Contaminant Cycles
Annex Numbers
Control of Phosphorus
Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
Research & Development
Annex 17
Cause-effect inter-relationships of productivity and ecotoxicity
General
Monitoring
Annex
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Control of Phosphorus
    Remedial Action Plans and Lakewide Management Plans
    Research & Development
  • Annex 17
    Annex 17
    Cause-effect inter-relationships of productivity and ecotoxicity

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