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Rehabilitation of Delavan Lake, Wisconsin

May 4, 2015

A comprehensive rehabilitation plan was developed and implemented to shift Delavan Lake, Wisconsin, from a hypereutrophic to a mesotrophic condition. The plan was threefold: (1) reduce external phosphorus (P) loading by applying Best Management Practices in the watershed, enhance an existing wetland, and short-circuit the inflows through the lake, (2) reduce internal P loading by treating the sediments with alum and removing carp, and (3) rehabilitate the fishery by removing carp and bigmouth buffalo and adding piscivores (biomanipulation). The first and second parts of the plan met with only limited success. With only minor reductions in internal and external P loading, P concentrations in the lake returned to near pre-treatment concentrations. The intensive biomanipulation and resulting trophic cascade (increased piscivores, decreased planktivores, increased large zooplankton populations, and reduced phytoplankton populations) eliminated most of the original problems in the lake (blue-green algal blooms and limited water clarity). However, now there is extensive macrophyte growth and abundant filamentous algae. Without significantly reducing the sources of the problems (high P loading) in Delavan Lake, the increased water clarity may not last. With an improved understanding of the individual components of this rehabilitation program, better future management plans can be developed for Delavan Lake and other lakes and reservoirs with similar eutrophication problems.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Rehabilitation of Delavan Lake, Wisconsin
DOI 10.1080/07438140009353961
Authors Dale M. Robertson, Gerald L. Goddard, D.R. Helsel, Kevin L. MacKinnon
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Lake and Reservoir Management
Series Number
Index ID 70157397
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization

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