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Nutrient loading and algal response in West Thompson Lake, Thompson, Connecticut, 2003-2005

Nutrient loading and algal response in West Thompson Lake, Thompson, Connecticut, 2003-2005

Scientific Investigations Report: 79

Water quality and nutrient loads were characterized for parts of the Quinebaug River and West Thompson Lake in northeastern Connecticut during 2003 to 2005. The West Thompson Lake watershed is a mainly forested watershed that receives treated municipal wastewater from several point sources in Massachusetts. The lake is a flood-control reservoir formed in 1966 by impoundment of the Quinebaug River. Median concentrations of total phosphorus in two inflow (upstream) and one outflow (downstream) sampling stations on the Quinebaug River were higher than the nutrient criteria recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for rivers and streams in aggregate Ecoregion XIV. In general, concentrations of total phosphorus in West Thompson Lake also were above the nutrient criteria recommended by USEPA for lakes and impoundments in aggregate Ecoregion XIV. The trophic status of West Thompson Lake has changed since 1995 from a hypereutrophic lake to a eutrophic lake; however, the lake still has large algal blooms. These blooms are predominated by blue-green algae, with chlorophyll-a concentrations of more than 30 micrograms per liter and algal cell counts as high as 73,000 cells/mL. Water samples collected during the summer of 2005 identified phosphorus as the primary limiting nutrient early in the season, but algal growth is probably co-limited by phosphorus and nitrogen later in the season.

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Accession: 037117109

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