Land use and socioeconomic influences on a vulnerable freshwater resource in northern New England, United States
- 400 Downloads
Land use and cover conversions as well as climatic factors drive current and future threats to freshwater systems. Research from the United States and across the globe has focused on already threatened and degraded freshwater systems, whose recovery requires significant investments. Attention must also be directed to monitoring freshwater systems that may appear robust, yet are likely to face enhanced vulnerabilities in the future due to climate and land use and cover changes. Such proactive monitoring can help identify problems early and provide potential solutions. In this study, we consider the case of Sebago Lake and its watershed in southern Maine; a region that has experienced significant population growth and development activity. Land use, socioeconomic change and water quality trends are monitored over a 20-year period using Landsat imagery, census, water quality and precipitation data. Our results indicate that Developed Land within the watershed has increased from 5.4 % of the total land area in 1987 to 8.9 % in 2009 with associated increases in population and housing activity. Sebago Lake’s water quality indicators from 1990 to 2010 show a directional trend concomitant with this change. The increase in Developed Land is likely to place additional pressures on water quality in the future. The analysis also indicates that precipitation trends play an important role in water quality variability for Sebago Lake. Predicted changes to climatic factors including enhanced spring time precipitation or earlier ice-out conditions combined with further land use change may play an influential role in determining water quality. The analysis highlights emerging areas of concern and reiterates the essential role of proactively monitoring vulnerable systems to help mitigate future threats.
KeywordsFreshwater systems Land use change Water quality Remote sensing Sustainability New England Sebago Lake
The authors wish to thank the Portland Water District for providing the water quality data. This research was funded by a National Science Foundation award EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.
- Analytic Imaging and Geophysics (AIG). (2002). Acorn 40 User’s Guide. http://www.aigllc.com/pdf/acorn4_ume.pdf. Accessed August 24, 2011.
- Barnes, M., Todd, A., Whitney, L., Lilja, R., & Barten, P. (2009). Forests, water and people: Drinking water supply and forest lands in the northeast and Midwest United States. Technical Report, NA-FR-01-08, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Google Scholar
- Bierwagen, B. G., Theobald, D. M., Pyke, C. R., Choate, A., Groth, P., Thomas, J. V., et al. (2010). National housing and impervious surface scenarios for integrated climate impact assessments. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107, 20887–20892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Carpenter, S. R., Caraco, N. F., Correll, D. L., Howarth, R. W., Sharpley, A. N., & Smith, V. H. (1998). Ecological and economic analysis of lake eutrophication by nonpoint pollution. Australian Journal of Ecology, 8, 559–568.Google Scholar
- Daly, C., Gibson, W. P., Doggett, M., Smith, J., & Taylor, G. (2004). Up-to-date monthly climate maps for the conterminous United States. In Proceedings of the 14th American Meteorological Society conference on applied climatology (Paper P51 CD-ROM). Seattle, Washington: 84th American Meteorological Society annual meeting combined reprints American Meteorological Society, January 13–16, 2004.Google Scholar
- Dudley, R. W., Hodgkins, G. A., & Nielsen, J. P. (2001). Water budget for Sebago Lake, Maine, 1996–99. USGS Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4235. http://mewater.usgs.gov/reports/WRIR01-4235.pdf. Accessed November 29, 2011.
- Gibson, W. P., Daly, C., Kittel, T., Nychka, D., Johns, C., Rosenbloom, N., McNab, A., & Taylor, G. (2002). Development of a 103-year high-resolution climate data set for the conterminous United States. In Proceedings of the 13th American Meteorological Society conference on applied climatology (pp. 181–183). Portland, Oregon: American Meteorological Society, May 13–16.Google Scholar
- Hodgkins, G. A. (2001). Total phosphorus loads for selected tributaries to Sebago Lake, Maine. USGS Water Resources Investigations Report 01-4003.Google Scholar
- Kundzewicz, Z. W., Mata, L. J., Arnell, N. W., Döll, P., Kabat, P., Jiménez, B., Miller, K. A., Oki, T., Sen, Z., & Shiklomanov, I. A. (2007). Freshwater resources and their management. In M. L. Parry, O. F. Canziani, J. P. Palutikof, P. J. van der Linden, & C. E. Hanson (Eds.), Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (pp. 173–210). Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- LEA (Lakes Environmental Association). (2010). Water testing report LEA, Bridgton, ME. http://www.mainelakes.org/documents/Water%20Testing%20summaries/2010%20LEA%20Water%20Testing%20Summaries.pdf. Accessed March 8, 2011.
- Levin, S., & Clark, W. (2009). Towards a science of sustainability. Report from Toward a Science of Sustainability Conference (p. 109). Warrenton, Virginia: Airlie Center.Google Scholar
- Lillesand, T. M., Kiefer, R. W., & Chipman, J. W. (2008). Remote sensing and image interpretation. New York, USA: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Meehl, G. A., & Stocker, T. F., et al. (2007). Global climate projections. In S. Solomon, D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K. B. Averyt, M. Tignor, & H. L. Miller (Eds.), Climate change 2007: The physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (pp. 747–846). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- MSPO (Maine State Planning Office). (2011). Maine economics and demographics program. http://www.maine.gov/spo/economics/. Accessed October 30, 2011.
- PWD (Portland Water District). (2008). State of the Lake Report, Sebago Lake, 2008 Portland Water District, Portland, ME. http://www.pwd.org/pdf/water_resources/stateofthelake2009.pdf. Accessed November 22, 2010.
- R Core Team. (2012). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL http://www.R-project.org/.
- Schelske, C. L., Lowe, E. F., Battoe, L. E., Brenner, M., Coveney, M. F., & Kenney, W. F. (2005). Abrupt biological response to hydrologic and land-use changes in Lake Apopka, Florida, USA. Ambio, 34, 192–198.Google Scholar
- Siegel, S., & Castellan, N. J. (1988). Non-parametric statistics for the behavioural sciences. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- USCB (United States Census Bureau). (2011). http://www.census.gov. Accessed October 22, 2011.
- USGS (United States Geological Survey). (2009). Maps, imagery, and publications. http://www.usgs.gov/pubprod/aerial.html. Accessed November 22, 2010.
- Vollenweider, R. A. (1968). Scientific fundamentals of lake and stream eutrophication, with particular reference to phosphorus and nitrogen as eutrophication factors. Technical Report DAS/DSI/6827 Paris, France: OECD.Google Scholar
- Whalen, N. (2009). Portland Water District Sebago Lake monitoring program lake monitoring presenting periphyton data from 1995-2009. Portland ME: Portland Water District. http://www.pwd.org/pdf/Reports/Periphyton%20Monitoring%20Results%20for%202009%20data.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2011.
- Whalen, N. (2010). Characterization of Sebago Lake lower bay trophic state since 1976. Portland, ME: Portland Water District. http://www.pwd.org/pdf/water_resources/Pre_1990_Lower_Bay_Report.pdf. Accessed March 31, 2011.