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Water Quality and Hydrology of Silver Lake, Oceana County, MI with Special Emphasis on Response of the Lake to Nutrient Loading

Problem: Historical monitoring of Silver Lake has demonstrated low total phosphorus concentrations in the spring when compared to the summer. The pattern of higher phosphorus in the summer has been observed repeatedly since 1989 (Progressive AE, 2011). Likewise, water transparency of Silver Lake has been moderate in the spring and low in the summer. In 2010 and 2011 there were elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations related to persistent algal blooms on the lake. These phenomena indicate potential for future algal blooms, which concerns residents, businesses, water managers, and State officials with regards to negative impacts on tourism, business, and property values. The Silver Lake Improvement Board is in need of information to help identify nutrient sources that could be causing algal blooms in the lake, in an effort to determine what management strategies could be used to prevent or reduce the occurrence of future algal blooms.

Benefits and Scope: This hydrologic and water quality assessment will provide information to local water managers and stakeholders to identify sources and nutrient loads to Silver Lake. Once identified, information on nutrient sources and loads can be used to implement management practices that best protect Silver Lake from potential negative effects associated with elevated nutrient concentrations. This assessment will also provide information on local and regional hydrology of the Silver Lake watershed in Michigan.

Water gains and losses in the system will be monitored as appropriate. Local water (Silver Lake, tributaries, contributing groundwater) will be sampled for nutrient content over a two-year period, and other potential nutrient sources including sediments and wet and dry atmospheric deposition will be monitored for one year, with a literature review providing potential values for lawn run off and waterfowl feces that can be extrapolated to Silver Lake. Status updates will be made at least bi-annually during the study and an interpretive report developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) will be produced in the third year of the study. This report will describe the various water and nutrient sources and magnitude of those sources to Silver Lake.

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Project Chief: Angela Brennan
Phone: 517-887-8905
Email: akbrennan@usgs.gov