Lakes Maumelle and Winona are water-supply reservoirs for the Little Rock and North Little Rock metropolitan areas in central Arkansas. In addition to water supply, the reservoirs are used for recreation and fish and wildlife habitat. The purpose of this report is to describe the hydrology and water quality of Lakes Maumelle and Winona and their inflows from data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with Central Arkansas Water for calendar years 1991 through 2003.
The main inflows into Lakes Maumelle and Winona, the Maumelle River and Alum Fork Saline River, exhibited typical seasonal variability in streamflow with high flows usually occurring in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and low or no flow in the summer and early fall. The highest annual mean streamflow occurred in 1991 and the lowest annual mean streamflow occurred in 1992 for the Maumelle River and 1995 for the Alum Fork Saline River.
Water quality measured in Lakes Maumelle and Winona varied spatially and temporally. Although total phosphorus concentrations were substantially higher at the upper ends of the lakes than at the lower ends of the lakes, nitrogen and orthophosphorus concentrations were not significantly different among the sampling sites on each lake. The highest concentrations of nitrogen generally were measured in 1991 and from 1998 through 2003 at all of the sampling sites. The highest total phosphorus concentrations were measured from 1994 to 1996 and from 1998 to 2001 on Lake Maumelle and from 1993 to 1994 on Lake Winona. Total and dissolved organic carbon concentrations were similar among sites on each lake and the greatest concentrations were measured in 1996 and 1997 at all of the sites. The chlorophyll a concentrations varied seasonally, with the highest concentrations in October and November, but were relatively uniform spatially and annually in Lakes Maumelle and Winona for 1991 through 2003. Water clarity was greater at the lower ends of the lakes than at the upper ends. Secchi depth varied seasonally, with the greatest depth from July to September and the least depth during October through December. There was no apparent trend in Secchi depth over the entire sampling period.
The trophic state indices calculated from near-surface concentrations of total phosphorus and chlorophyll a for Lakes Maumelle and Winona indicated that they generally were oligotrophic although they fluctuated in time between mesotrophic and oligotrophic conditions.
Water-quality concentrations generally were less for the main inflow to Lake Winona, the Alum Fork Saline River, than for the Maumelle River, Bringle, Yount, and Reece Creeks, which flow into Lake Maumelle. Nutrient concentrations for the Maumelle and Alum Fork Saline Rivers remained fairly uniform from 1991 through 2003. Suspended-sediment concentrations generally were greatest at Bringle Creek. Concentrations of fecal streptococci measured at the Alum Fork Saline River were similar to concentrations measured at the Maumelle River, and fecal coliforms concentrations for the Alum Fork Saline River were approximately half the concentration measured at the Maumelle River. Bringle and Reece Creeks had greater concentrations of fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci than the Maumelle River, and Yount Creek had the lowest concentration of fecal streptococci among all the sites.
Annual loads of nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, and suspended sediment estimated for the Maumelle River and the Alum Fork Saline River were similar between sites and varied with time from 1991 through 2003. Annual loads were greatest in 1991 for the Maumelle and Alum Fork Saline Rivers and the least in 2000 for the Maumelle River and 1995 for the Alum Fork Saline River. Estimated loads also demonstrated seasonal trends with the highest daily loads in the winter and fall and lowest daily loads in the summer for both sites.
Annual yields of nutrients and dissolved organic carbon computed
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-quality assessment of Lakes Maumelle and Winona, Arkansas, 1991 through 2003