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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Ecosystem Restoration

Ecological Effects after an Alum Treatment in Spring Lake, Michigan


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 1, p. 22-29
    Received: Mar 21, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): steinmaa@gvsu.edu
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  1. Alan D. Steinman * and
  2. Mary Ogdahl
  1. Annis Water Resources Inst., Grand Valley State Univ., 740 West Shoreline Drive, Muskegon, MI 49441


A whole-lake alum treatment was applied to eutrophic Spring Lake during October and November 2005. Eight months later, an ecological assessment of the lake was performed and compared with data collected in 2003 and 2004. Field measurements showed reduced soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the water column the summer after the alum application, but chlorophyll levels and irradiance profiles were not significantly affected. Total macroinvertebrate density declined significantly in 2006 compared with 2004, with chaoborids and oligochaetes experiencing the greatest reductions. Internal phosphorus release rates, measured using sediment cores incubated in the laboratory, ranged from −0.052 to 0.877 mg TP m−2 d−1 under anaerobic conditions. These internal loading rates were significantly lower than those measured in 2003 at three out of four sites. Mean porewater SRP concentrations were lower in 2006 than in 2003, but this difference was statistically significant only under aerobic conditions. The NaOH-extractable SRP fraction in the sediment was also significantly lower in 2006 compared with 2003, whereas the HCl-extractable SRP sediment fraction showed the opposite pattern. Overall, these results indicate that the alum treatment effectively reduced internal P loading in Spring Lake. However, water column phosphorus concentrations remain high in this system, presumably due to high external loading levels, and may account for the high chlorophyll levels. An integrated watershed management approach that includes reducing internal and external inputs of P is necessary to address the cultural eutrophication of Spring Lake.

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