Water-quality data, both past and present, show that the waters of the upper Lehigh River basin are somewhat acidic, but otherwise are generally of good quality. This report contains a summary of all known water-quality data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies, as well as a synopsis of current water-quality conditions in the reservoir and its tributaries.
Water-quality data collected from June 1981 to May 1982 indicate that raising the pool level from 1,300 to approximately 1,392 feet above sea level (NGVD of 1929) has had some significant, if only temporary, detrimental impacts on the reservoir system and its discharge. Depth profile measurements show that, while the impoindment was thermally stratified for only about 2 weeks, the dissolved oxygen concentrations were depressed to levels critical to fishlife throughout much of the reservoir. Another effect of the raised pool was the lowering of pH in the impoinded water. Median pH values were less than 6.0 throughout the reservoir, whereas they commonly exceeded 6.5 at the normal pool elevation. Tests for fecal coliform and fecal streptococcus indicate the impoinded water is nearly free of enteric bacteria. Algal analyses and nutrient concentrations support the premise that the impoundment is nutrient poor and phosphorus limited.
Raising the water level an additional 125 feet should have no permanent detrimental effect upon water quality and will greatly increase available habitat for fish and waterflow. Increased retention time should not alter the current trophic status and may decrease the concentration of available nutrients.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Water-quality assessment of Francis E Walter reservoir, Luzerne and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania