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Water-quality, phytoplankton, and trophic-status characteristics of Big Base and Little Base lakes, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, 2003-2004

Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5068

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Abstract

Little Rock Air Force Base is the largest C-130 base in the Air Force and is the only C-130 training base in the Department of Defense. Little Rock Air Force Base is located in central Arkansas near the eastern edge of the Ouachita Mountains, near the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, and within the Arkansas Valley Ecoregion. Habitats include upland pine forests, upland deciduous forest, broad-leaved deciduous swamps, and two small freshwater lakes?Big Base Lake and Little Base Lake. Big Base and Little Base Lakes are used primarily for recreational fishing by base personnel and the civilian public. Under normal (rainfall) conditions, Big Base Lake has a surface area of approximately 39 acres while surface area of Little Base Lake is approximately 1 acre. Little Rock Air Force Base personnel are responsible for managing the fishery in these two lakes and since 1999 have started a nutrient enhancement program that involves sporadically adding fertilizer to Big Base Lake. As a means of determining the relations between water quality and primary production, Little Rock Air Force Base personnel have a need for biological (phytoplankton density), chemical (dissolved-oxygen and nutrient concentrations), and physical (water temperature and light transparency) data. To address these monitoring needs, the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Little Rock Air Force Base, conducted a study to collect and analyze biological, chemical, and physical data. The U.S. Geological Survey sampled water quality in Big Base Lake and Little Base Lake on nine occasions from July 2003 through June 2004. Because of the difference in size, two sampling sites were established on Big Base Lake, while only one site was established on Little Base Lake. Lake profile data for Big Base Lake indicate that low dissolved- oxygen concentrations in the hypolimnion probably constrain most fish species to the upper 5-6 feet of depth during the summer stratification period. Dissolved-oxygen concentrations in Big Base Lake below a depth of 6 feet generally were less than 3 milligrams per liter for summer months that were sampled in 2003 and 2004. Some evidence indicates that phosphorus was limiting primary production during the sampling period. Dissolved nitrogen constituents frequently were detected in water samples (indicating availability) but dissolved phosphorus constituents-orthophosphorus and dissolved phosphorus-were not detected in any samples collected at the two lakes. The absence of dissolved phosphorus constituents and presence of total phosphorus indicates that all phosphorus was bound to suspended material (sediment particles and living organisms). Nitrogen:phosphorus ratios on most sampling occasions tended to be slightly higher than 16:1, which can be interpreted as further indication that phosphorus could be limiting primary production to some extent. An alkalinity of 20 milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate or higher is recommended to optimize nutrient availability and buffering capacity in recreational fishing lakes and ponds. Median values for water samples collected at the three sites ranged from 12-13 milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate. Alkalinities ranged from 9-60 milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate, but 13 of 17 samples collected at the deepest site had alkalinities less than 20 milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate. Results of three trophic-state indices, and a general trophic classification, as well as abundant green algae and large growths of blue-green algae indicate that Big Base Lake may be eutrophic. Trophic-state index values calculated using total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, and Secchi disc measurements from both lakes generally exceeded criteria at which lakes are considered to be eutrophic. A second method of determining lake trophic status-the general trophic classification-categorized the three sampling sites as mesotrophic or eutrophic. Green algae were found to be in abundance throughout mos

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water-quality, phytoplankton, and trophic-status characteristics of Big Base and Little Base lakes, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, 2003-2004
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2005-5068
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2005
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
37 p.
Scale:
24000