Limnology of selected lakes in Ohio, 1975

Water-Resources Investigations Report 77-105




Water-quality reconnaissance by the U.S. Geological Survey and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, to evaluate the status of Ohio's lakes and reservoirs was begun in 1975 with studies of 17 lakes. Spring and summer data collections for each lake included: profile measurements of temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and specific conductance; field and laboratory analyses of physical, biological, chemical organic characteristics; (nutrient), and concentrations of major and minor chemical constituents from composites of the water column; and physical and chemical data from major inflows.

Light penetration (secchi disk) ranged from 9.4 feet (2.9 meters) in Lake Hope to 0.4 feet (0.1 meter) in Acton Lake. Seasonal thermal stratification or stability is shown for 10 lakes deeper than 15 feet (4.6 meters). Unstable or modified temperature profiles were observed in shallow lakes (depths less than 15 feet) or lakes controlled through subsurface release valves.

Dissolved oxygen saturation ranged from 229 percent (20.8 milligrams per liter) in the epilimnion of Paint Creek Lake to zero in the bottom waters of all thermally stabilized lakes. Marked chemical and physical differences and nutrient uptake and recycling developed within different thermal strata. Anaerobic zones were frequently characterized by hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.

Calcium was the dominant or codominant cation, and bicarbonate and(or) sulfate were the major anions in all lakes sampled. Only Hope and Vesuvius Lakes had soft water (hardness less than 61 milligrams per liter as CaCO3 ), and both lakes were further characterized by low pH (less than 7.0). Specific conductance ranged from 510 micromhos (Deer Creek and Salt Fork Lakes) to 128 micromhos (Lake Hope). Pesticide residues were detected in Acton Lake, and concentrations of one or more trace metals were at or above Ohio Environmental Protection Agency recommended limits in 11 lakes.

Fecal coliform colony counts were below 400 colonies per 100 milliliters in 13 lakes; higher counts were observed in Acton, Cowan, Harrison, and Paint Creek Lakes in samples taken during runoff events. Phytoplankton densities greater than 100,000 cells per milliliter were observed in 12 lakes and reached a maximum of over 2,800,000 cells per milliliter in Grand Lake St. Marys. Summer domination of the algal community by blue-green algae (Cyanophyta) was indicated for 16 of the 17 lakes.

Streams are a major source of macronutrients to Ohio's lakes. Concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate and total Phosphorus in 38 inflow samples to the 17 lakes averaged 2.17 milligrams per liter as N and 0.29 milligrams per liter as P, respectively.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Limnology of selected lakes in Ohio, 1975
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Ohio Water Science Center
xiii, 205 p.
United States