A combination of available bathymetric-survey information and bottom-sediment coring was used to investigate sedimentation and the occurrence of selected nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus), organic and total carbon, 25 trace elements, diatoms, and the radionuclide cesium-137 in the bottom sediment of Fall River Lake, southeast Kansas. The total estimated volume and mass of bottom sediment deposited from 1948 through 2006 in the original conservation pool of the reservoir was 470 million cubic feet and 18.8 billion pounds, respectively. The estimated sediment volume occupied about 36 percent of the original conservation-pool, water-storage capacity of the reservoir. Mean annual net sediment deposition since 1948 in the original conservation pool of the reservoir was estimated to be 324 million pounds per year. Mean annual net sediment yield from the Fall River Lake Basin was estimated to be 585,000 pounds per square mile per year.
The mean annual net loads of total nitrogen and total phosphorus deposited in the bottom sediment of Fall River Lake were estimated to be 648,000 pounds per year and 267,000 pounds per year, respectively. The estimated mean annual net yields of total nitrogen and total phosphorus from the Fall River Lake Basin were 1,170 pounds per square mile per year and 480 pounds per square mile per year, respectively. Throughout the history of Fall River Lake, total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations in the deposited sediment were relatively uniform.
Trace element concentrations in the bottom sediment of Fall River Lake generally were uniform over time. Arsenic, chromium, nickel, and zinc concentrations typically exceeded the threshold-effects guidelines, which represent the concentrations above which toxic biological effects occasionally occur. Trace element concentrations did not exceed the probable-effects guidelines (available for eight trace elements), which represent the concentrations above which toxic biological effects usually or frequently occur. Diatom occurrence in the bottom sediment of Fall River Lake was dominated by the species Aulacoseira granulata, which is an indicator of eutrophic (nutrient-rich) conditions. The abundance of the diatom Aulacoseira granulata, combined with cyanobacteria evidence and historical water-quality data, indicated that Fall River Lake likely has been eutrophic throughout much of its history.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Sedimentation and Occurrence and Trends of Selected Nutrients, Other Chemical Constituents, and Diatoms in Bottom Sediment, Fall River Lake, Southeast Kansas, 1948-2006