Limnological study of Lake Shastina, Siskiyou County, California

Water-Resources Investigations Report 74-19

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Lake Shastina provides water for irrigation in Shasta Valley, as well as recreation. Presently, its shoreline is being developed for summer homes. Surface water constituted more than 90 percent of the approximately 50,000 acre-foot (62-cubic hectometre) inflow to Lake Shastina in the 1972 water year. Controlled outflow is via the Montague Main Canal; however, leakage from the lake through volcanic rocks to the northwest was estimated to be greater than the measured outflow. Appreciable annual changes in the quantity of water in storage in the lake are related mainly to variations in annual inflow.

From June through August the lake was thermally stratified. In the spring and summer the epilimnion was often supersaturated with oxygen, while at the same time the hypolimnion was undersaturated and 'often devoid of dissolved oxygen. Vertical stratification of carbon dioxide, carbonate, bicarbonate, hydrogen ion, nitrogen, and phosphorus was also recorded during the spring and summer. Orthophosphate, total phosphorus, and total nitrogen concentrations (organic, ammonium, and nitrate) were highest in the hypolimnion during the period of thermal stratification.

Ten-inch (25-centimetre) core samples from the reservoir bottom were chemically analyzed at 0.8-inch (2-centimetre) intervals. The concentrations ranged from 6.3 to 28.9 milligrams per gram of iron, 0.07 to 0.43 milligrams per gram of manganese, 0.4 to 2.7 milligrams per gram of organic nitrogen plus ammonium, and 0.06 to 1.3 milligrams per gram of total phosphorus. Organic matter in the cores ranged from 4 to 14 percent.

Green algae and diatoms were the dominant algal types, reaching maximum concentrations of about 7 and 30 million cells per litre, respectively. These phytoplankton occurred near the surface during thermally stratified periods, but were distributed at greater depths during nonthermally stratified periods. Blue-green algae were present only in the spring samples, and reached a maximum concentration of about 5 million cells per litre.

Zooplankton numbers were greatest in March, July, and September, with lesser concentrations in June. Three major zooplankton groups, Cladocera, Copepoda, and Rotifera, were present. The major groups of benthic organisms were Oligochaeta, Chironomidae, and Chaoborus, with numbers ranging from 3350, 890, and 8450 per square metre, respectively.

A discussion on algal control is included.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Limnological study of Lake Shastina, Siskiyou County, California
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
vi, 52 p.
United States
Siskiyou County
Other Geospatial:
Lake Shastina