, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 175–194 | Cite as

Effects of watershed liming on the soil chemistry of Woods Lake, New York

  • Veronica L. Blette
  • Robert M. Newton


The effects of watershed liming on the exchange complex of a forest soil were investigated at Woods Lake, in the west-central Adirondack Park, New York. Attempts to neutralize lake acidity via direct application of calcite during the 1980"s were short-lived due to a short hydraulic retention time. The Experimental Watershed Liming Study (EWLS) was initiated to investigate watershed base addition as a potentially more long-term strategy for mitigation of lake acidity. In this paper we discuss the changes in the exchangeable soil complex which occurred in response to the calcite addition and attempt a mass balance for calcite applied to the watershed.

An extensive sampling program was initiated for the watershed study. Soil samples were collected from pits prior to and in the two years following treatment to evaluate changes in soil chemistry. Calcite addition significantly altered the exchange complex in the organic horizon. Increases in pH caused deprotonation of soil organic matter and increases in cation exchange capacity, providing additional exchange sites for the retention of added calcium. Exchangeable acidity decreased to very low values, allowing the base saturation of upper organic horizons to increase to nearly 100 percent.

Post-treatment sampling found that approximately 48 percent of the calcite remained undissolved in the soil"s Oe horizon two years later. Dissolution of the calcite was affected by field moisture conditions, with greater dissolution in wetter areas of the watershed. Mass balances calculated for calcium applied to the watershed suggest that only 4 percent of the calcium was removed through the lake outlet. Approximately 96 percent of the calcium applied remained within the watershed; as undissolved calcite, on soil exchange sites or stored in the vegetation, groundwater or surface waters of the watershed.

Key words

acid mitigation exchangeable chemistry soil acidity soil chemistry watershed liming 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronica L. Blette
    • 1
  • Robert M. Newton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeographyUniversity of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department Of GeologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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