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Status and Trends of Phosphorus in Lake Champlain and Its Tributaries, 1990–2000

  • Laura Medalie
  • Eric Smeltzer
Conference paper

Abstract

Reducing phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain in order to reverse eutrophication has been a priority of Vermont, New York, and Quebec since 1990. In-lake phosphorus concentration criteria, lake-segment watershed phosphorus load targets, and a Lake Champlain Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) have established reduction goals. Eleven years of tributary and lake phosphorus sampling and streamflow gaging have provided a set of data that can be used to determine preliminary status and trends of progress towards these goals.

Phosphorus levels consistently were above in-lake criteria values during 1990–2000 in the Main Lake, South Lake A, Missisquoi Bay, St. Albans Bay, and the Northeast Arm. Significant upward linear phosphorus trends were present during 1990–2000 in Malletts Bay, the Northeast Arm, and St. Albans Bay. A significant downward trend was present in the South Lake B segment. Substantial declines in Vermont point-source loads occurred after 1991. In 2000, the Vermont point-source loads were below the TMDL wasteload allocations in all lake segments except South Lake B and Otter Creek. Substantial declines in New York point-source loads also have occurred since 1991 in most areas, but current loads remain above the TMDL wasteload allocation for the South Lake B, South Lake A, Port Henry, and Main Lake segments. Estimated phosphorus loads have remained above the tributary target loads in all cases, with the exception of the LaPlatte River. The tributary loads estimated in recent years generally were higher than the 1991 base year loads. Eight of the 18 tributaries tested showed significant trends in flow-adjusted concentrations after reconciling results from the mixed and the time-series approaches. The LaPlatte River and Otter Creek, both in Vermont, showed downward trends. These two tributaries also showed the greatest magnitude of change. The Bouquet, Great Chazy, Little Chazy, Salmon and Saranac Rivers, and Putnam Creek, all in New York, showet. upward trends. Additional work relating trends to changes occurring in the tributary subbasins is needed to better understand the nature (upward or downward) of the trends and to help determine whether progress is being made in achieving the Lake Champlain Basin Program phosphorus reduction goals.

Keywords

Phosphorus Concentration Environmental Conservation Total Maximum Daily Load Mixed Approach York State Department 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Medalie
    • 1
  • Eric Smeltzer
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyMontpelierUSA
  2. 2.Vermont Department of Environmental ConservationWaterburyUSA

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