An introduction to the processes, problems, and management of urban lakes

Circular 601-K

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Lakes are bodies of water formed in depressions on the earth's surface, and as such, act as depositories for a variety of chemical and biological materials. The study of lakes has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Lakes are a valuable resource, and their multiple uses have made them susceptible to water-quality problems such as algal blooms, sediment deposition and fish kills. These problems are products of the eutrophication process (enrichment, aging and extinction of lakes), which is often accelerated by man. Therefore, it becomes important to understand the properties and processes of lakes which govern lake enrichment, and the measures available to control enrichment.

Lakes are described in terms of their physical (light penetration, temperature, sediment, and morphology), chemical (chemical constituents, plant nutrients:, and dissolved gases) and biological (plankton, benthos, and nekton) properties. These properties are all interre]ated, and are important variables to measure to evaluate water quality. In addition, lake processes, such as photosynthesis, respiration, eutrophication, and biogeochemical cycling, are important factors in determining the sources and extent of enrichment, and managing a lake for maximum benefit. Meeting demands for water of high quality requires a general knowledge of lake properties and processes, coupled with lake-basin planning, watershed and lake management, and water-quality control. There are many lake-management and control practices, but the best tools for quality control are preventive measures. Once extensive enrichment has occurred, there are few management or control options available.

As lake studies become more common, sampling techniques for data collection need increased accuracy and consistency, in order to make meaningful comparisons between different lakes. Therefore, the report discusses the main factors involved in conducting lake studies. These factors include the types and frequency of measurements useful in lake reconnaissance studies and a review of literature on sampling equipment and techniques. A glossary of selected terms begins the report, which is intended for guideline use by urban planners and managers.

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USGS Numbered Series
An introduction to the processes, problems, and management of urban lakes
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U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center, Indiana Water Science Center
vi, 22 p.
United States
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