Impacts of settlement, damming, and hydromanagement in two boreal lakes: a comparative paleolimnological study
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- Serieyssol, C.A., Edlund, M.B. & Kallemeyn, L.W. J Paleolimnol (2009) 42: 497. doi:10.1007/s10933-008-9300-9
Namakan Lake, located in shared border waters in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario, was subjected to several anthropogenic impacts including logging, damming, water-level manipulations, and perhaps climate change. We used paleolimnology to determine how these stressors impacted Namakan Lake in comparison to a control lake (Lac La Croix) that was not subject to damming and hydromanagement. One core was retrieved from each lake for 210Pb dating and analysis of loss-on-ignition and diatom composition. 210Pb-derived chronologies from the cores indicated that sediment accumulation increased after logging and damming in Namakan Lake; Lac La Croix showed no significant change. Loss-on-ignition analysis also showed an increase in concentration and accumulation of inorganic material after damming in Namakan Lake; again, minimal changes were observed in Lac La Croix. Diatom communities in both lakes displayed community shifts at the peak of logging. Simultaneous, post-1970s diatom community changes may reflect regional climate warming. Taxonomic richness in Namakan Lake decreased sharply after damming and the peak of logging, and was followed by a slow recovery to taxonomic richness similar to that prior to damming. Ecological variability among post-damming diatom communities, however, was greater in Namakan Lake than in Lac La Croix. A diatom calibration set was used to reconstruct historical conductivity and total phosphorus (TP). Lac La Croix showed little historical change in conductivity and TP. In contrast, conductivity increased for several decades in Namakan Lake after damming, possibly in relation to several large fires and flooding. Total phosphorus also increased in Namakan Lake after damming, with a possible decrease in the last decade to pre-damming TP levels.