Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 497–513 | Cite as

Impacts of settlement, damming, and hydromanagement in two boreal lakes: a comparative paleolimnological study

  • C. A. Serieyssol
  • M. B. Edlund
  • L. W. Kallemeyn
Original Paper


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.


Diatoms Human impacts BACI Climate change Minnesota Ontario 



This project was funded by the United States Geological Survey (PM15-94151). Special thanks to Mary Graves, Culture Resources Specialist in International Falls, Andrew Jourdain and the Lac La Croix First Nation for technical assistance on Lac La Croix, Ryan Maki at Voyageurs National Park for collecting environmental data, Erin Mortenson (Saint Croix Watershed Research Station) for sediment dating, Rick Cousins (Lake of the Wood Control Board) and the Water Survey of Canada for providing hydrological and governance information, Kathleen Rühland, Andrew Paterson, Joy Ramstack, and Euan Reavie for sharing an unpublished calibration set for northern Minnesota and northwestern Ontario, Steve Juggins for sharing his statistical expertise, Joy Ramstack for providing answers to many questions and Andrew Paterson, Euan Reavie and Kathleen Rühland for providing valuable comments on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Serieyssol
    • 1
  • M. B. Edlund
    • 2
  • L. W. Kallemeyn
    • 3
  1. 1.Water Resources ScienceUniversity of MinnesotaSt PaulUSA
  2. 2.St. Croix Watershed Research Station of the Science Museum of MinnesotaMarine on St. CroixUSA
  3. 3.USGS, CERC-International Falls Biological StationInternational FallsUSA

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