Lake Maumelle is the major drinking-water source for the Little Rock metropolitan area in central Arkansas. Urban and agricultural development has increased in the Lake Maumelle Basin and information is needed related to constituent transport and waterquality response to changes in constituent loading or hydrologic regime. This report characterizes ambient conditions in Lake Maumelle and its major tributary, Maumelle River; describes the calibration and verification of a numerical model of hydrodynamics and water quality; and provides several simulations that describe constituent transport and water quality response to changes in constituent loading and hydrologic regime.
Ambient hydrologic and water-quality conditions demonstrate the relatively undisturbed nature of Lake Maumelle and the Maumelle River. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were low, one to two orders of magnitude lower than estimates of national background nutrient concentrations. Phosphorus and chlorophyll a concentrations in Lake Maumelle demonstrate its oligotrophic/mesotrophic condition. However, concentrations of chlorophyll a appeared to increase since 1990 within the upper and middle reaches of the reservoir.
A two-dimensional, laterally averaged hydrodynamic and water-quality model developed and calibrated for Lake Maumelle simulates water level, currents, heat transport and temperature distribution, conservative material transport, and the transport and transformation of 11 chemical constituents. Simulations included the movement and dispersion of spills or releases in the reservoir during stratified and unstratified conditions, release of the fish nursery pond off the southern shore of Lake Maumelle, and algal responses to changes in external loading.
The model was calibrated using 1991 data and verified using 1992 data. Simulated temperature and dissolved oxygen concentrations related well when compared to measured values. Simulated nutrient and algal biomass also related reasonably well when compared to measured values. A simulated spill of conservative material at the upper end of Lake Maumelle during a major storm event took less than 102 hours to disperse the entire length of the reservoir. Simulation of a nursery pond release into a tributary to Lake Maumelle demonstrated how the released water plunges within the receiving embayment and enters the main stem of the reservoir at mid depths. Simulations of algal response to increases of nitrogen and phosphorus loads demonstrate the phosphorus limiting condition in Lake Maumelle.
Results from this study will provide waterresource management with information to better understand how changes in hydrology and water quality in the basin affects water quality in the reservoir. With this information, managers will be able to more effectively manage their drinking-water source supply.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Analysis of ambient conditions and simulation of hydrodynamics, constituent transport, and water-quality characteristics in Lake Maumelle, Arkansas, 1991-92