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PUBLICATIONS—Scientific Investigations Report

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Michigan Water Science Center

 

In cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

State and Regional Water-Quality Characteristics and Trophic Conditions of Michigan’s Inland Lakes, 2001–2005

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5188

By L.M. Fuller and R.J. Minnerick

ONLINE ONLY

 


This report is available below as a 58-page PDF for viewing and printing.


Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are jointly monitoring selected water-quality constituents of inland lakes through 2015 as part of Michigan’s Lake Water Quality Assessment program. During 2001–2005, 433 lake basins from 364 inland lakes were monitored for baseline water-quality conditions and trophic status. This report summarizes the water-quality characteristics and trophic conditions of those monitored lake basins throughout the State.

 

Regional variation of water quality in lake basins was examined by grouping on the basis of the five Omernik level III ecoregions within Michigan. Concentrations of most constituents measured were significantly different between ecoregions. Less regional variation of phosphorus concentrations was noted between Northern Lakes and Forests (50) and North Central Hardwoods (51) ecoregions during summer possibly because water samples were collected when lake productivity was high; hence the utilization of the limited amount of phosphorus by algae and macrophytes may have resulted in the more uniform concentrations between these two ecoregions.

 

Concentrations of common ions (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate) measured in the spring typically were higher in the Michigan southern Lower Peninsula in the Eastern Corn Belt Plains (55), Southern Michigan/Northern Indiana Drift Plains (56), and Huron/Erie Lake Plains (57) ecoregions. Most ions whose concentrations were less than the minimum reporting levels or were nondetectable were from lakes in the Michigan northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula in the Northern Lakes and Forests (50) and North Central Hardwoods (51) ecoregions. Chlorophyll a concentrations followed a similar distribution pattern. Measured properties such as pH and specific conductance (indicative of dissolved solids) also showed a regional relation. The lakes with the lowest pH and specific conductance were generally in the western Upper Peninsula (Northern Lakes and Forests (50) ecoregion).

 

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality classifies Michigan lakes on the basis of their primary biological productivity or trophic characteristics using the Carlson Trophic State Index. Trophic evaluations based on data collected from 2001 through 2005 indicate 17 percent of the lakes are oligotrophic, 53 percent are mesotrophic, 22 percent are eutrophic, 4 percent are hypereutrophic, and less than 5 percent are classified into transition classes between each major class. Although the distribution of lakes throughout Michigan or between Omernik level III ecoregions is not uniform, about 85 percent of the lakes classified as oligotrophic are in the Northern Lakes and Forests (50) or North Central Hardwoods (51) ecoregions. Nearly 28 percent of all the lakes in each of these two ecoregions were classified as oligotrophic.

 

Historical trophic-state classes were compared to the current (2001 through 2005) trophic-state classes. Approximately 72 percent of lakes remained in the same trophic-state class, 11 percent moved up a partial or full class (indicating a decrease in water clarity) and 18 percent moved down a partial or full class (indicating an increase in water clarity).

 


Availability

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Whole report (11.2 MB) - 58 pages (8.5” by 11” paper)

 


 

Suggested Citation:

Fuller, L.M., and Minnerick, R.J., 2008, State and regional water-quality characteristics and trophic conditions of Michigan’s inland lakes, 2001–2005: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5188, 58 p. Date Posted: December 17, 2008: [http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir20085188/]

 


Contents

Abstract

Introduction

History of Monitoring on Inland Lakes

Purpose and Scope

Physical Setting

Water-Quality Data-Collection Methods

Lake and Site Selection

Site Identification

Sampling Strategy

Field and Laboratory Methods

Trophic-Status Evaluation

Data Quality Assurance, Treatment of Censored Data, and Data Access

Statewide Water Quality of Inland Lakes

Inland Lake Water Quality and Ecoregions

Specific Conductance and pH

Trophic State Index Class Compared to Maximum Lake Depth and Lake Area

Comparison of Current Trophic Assessment with Historical Assessments

Summary and Conclusions

Acknowledgments

References Cited

Appendix 1. List of Michigan lake basins sampled from 2001 through 2005

Appendix 2. Rationale for treatment of censored data

Appendix 3. Water-quality constituents in Michigan lake basins from 2001 through 2005

Appendix 4. Spatial distribution of water-quality constituents in Michigan lake basins from 2001 through 2005

Appendix 5. A limnologic explanation of water-quality characteristics and constituents sampled in Michigan lakes, 2001–2005

Figures

  1A–3. Maps showing:

   1A. Inland lakes greater than 25 acres in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

   1B. Inland lakes greater than 25 acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

    2. Watershed-management units and 5-year rotational cycle for Lake Water-Quality Assessment in Michigan.

    3. Omernik level III ecoregions for Michigan.


4. Photograph showing a U.S. Geological Survey technician filtering water for chlorophyll a analysis.

5. Photograph showing a Secchi disk, which is lowered into the water attached to a measuring tape to determine the
    Secchi-disk depth.

6. Map showing pH in Michigan lake basins during spring turnover for 2001 through 2005, lain on Omernik level III ecoregions.

7. Map showing specific conductance in Michigan lake basins during spring turnover for 2001 through 2005, lain on
    Omernik level III ecoregions.

8. Graph showing relation of Trophic State Index class to lake depth in Michigan lake basins, 2001–2005.

9. Graph showing relation of Trophic State Index class to lake area in Michigan lake basins, 2001–2005.

Tables

 1. Properties and constituents of water-quality data collected from Michigan’s lakes sampled 2001–2005.

 2. Lake trophic state and classification ranges for Trophic State Index for total phosphorus, Secchi-disk transparency,
     and cholorophyll a.

 3. Number of Michigan lakes, basins, and lakes with multiple basins sampled from 2001 through 2005.

 4. Statistical summary of Michigan lake basins sampled from 2001 through 2005 by season and lake.

 5. Statistical summary of Michigan lake basins sampled from 2001 through 2005 by Omernik level III ecoregions.

 6. Results of statistical tests comparing constituents between Omernik level III ecoregions.

 


For additional information, contact:

U.S. Geological Survey
Michigan Water Science Center
6520 Mercantile Way, Suite 5
Lansing, MI 48911-5991
GS-W-MIlns_DC@usgs.gov

 

or for more information about USGS activities in Michigan, visit the USGS Michigan Water Science Center home page.



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