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Open-File Report 2012–1142

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation

Water-Quality Data from Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes, Oregon, 2009–10

By D. Blake Eldridge, Sara L. Caldwell Eldridge, Liam N. Schenk, Dwight Q. Tanner, and Tamara M. Wood

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (4.8 MB)Significant Findings

The U.S. Geological Survey Upper Klamath Lake water-quality monitoring program collected data from multiparameter continuous water-quality monitors, weekly water-quality samples, and meteorological stations during 2009 and 2010 from May through November each year. The results of these measurements and sample analyses, as well as quality-control data for the water-quality samples, are presented in this report for 14 sites on Upper Klamath Lake and 2 sites on Agency Lake. These 2 years of data demonstrate a contrast in the seasonal bloom of the dominant cyanobacterium, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, that can be related to differences in the measured water quality and meteorological variables. Some of the significant findings from 2009 and 2010 are listed below.

  • Both 2009 and 2010 were characterized by two cyanobacteria blooms, but the blooms differed in timing and intensity. The first bloom in 2009 peaked in late June and at higher chlorophyll a concentrations at most sites than the first bloom in 2010, which peaked in mid-July. A major decline in the first 2009 bloom occurred in late July and was followed by a second bloom that peaked at most sites in mid-August and persisted through September. The decline of the weaker first bloom in 2010 occurred in early August and was followed by a more substantial second bloom that peaked between late August and early September at most sites.
  • Dissolved oxygen minima associated with bloom declines occurred approximately 2 weeks earlier in 2009 (mid-July) than in 2010 (early August). pH maxima associated with rapid bloom growth occurred in late June and again in mid-August in 2009 and in mid-July and late August in 2010.
  • In both years, the maxima for total phosphorus and total nitrogen concentrations coincided with the chlorophyll a maximum. The maxima for dissolved nutrient concentrations (orthophosphate, ammonia, and nitrite plus nitrate) coincided with the declines of the first blooms.
  • Total particulate carbon, total particulate nitrogen, and total particulate phosphorus concentrations were measured in 2009 only. The ratios of carbon to phosphorus and nitrogen to phosphorus in particulates were the highest of the entire season during the rapid growth phase of the first bloom and were the lowest of the season during the decline of the first bloom. These ratios increased with the onset of the second bloom in that year, but to a lesser degree.
  • Meteorological data show that 2009 was warmer (particularly in June and July), less windy, and more humid early in the season than 2010. The difference in water temperatures reflected the difference in air temperatures in that the lakes were warmer in 2009 than in 2010 starting in early May, when the sensors were deployed, through most of June. Water temperature peaked at a higher value in 2009, and there were more clear days in June 2009 than in June 2010.

First posted August 28, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, Oregon Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2130 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

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Suggested citation:

Eldridge. D.B., Caldwell Eldridge, S.L., Schenk, L.N., Tanner, D.Q., and Wood, T.M., 2012, Water-quality data from Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes, Oregon, 2009–10: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1142, 32 p.


Significant Findings



Quality Control



References Cited

Appendix A. Quality-Control Data for Water-Quality Samples

Appendix B. Data from Water-Quality Samples

Appendix C. Concentrations of Un-Ionized Ammonia in Water-Quality Samples

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