During 1989–92, an extensive rehabilitation project was completed in and around Delavan Lake, Wisconsin, to improve the lake’s water quality. However, in 2016, the lake was listed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as impaired for excessive algal growth (high chlorophyll a concentrations), and high phosphorus input was listed as its likely cause. In addition, the recent (2017–21) mean summer water clarity (as measured with a Secchi disk) was shallower than the goal set by the community (3.0 meters). Based primarily on flow and water-quality data collected in Jackson Creek, which is the main tributary of the lake, the mean annual phosphorus loading to the lake during water years (WYs) 2017–21 was 6,570 kilograms per year (kg/yr), and 306 kg/yr came from uncontrollable sources (atmospheric deposition and groundwater). Phosphorus loading during these years was about 48 percent higher than the long-term mean loading from WY 1984 to WY 2021. Based on results from Canfield-Bachmann phosphorus models, Carlson trophic state index relations, and the Jones and Bachmann chlorophyll a relation, external phosphorus loading would need to be decreased from 6,570 to 5,270 kg/yr (a 21-percent reduction in the potentially controllable external phosphorus load from the base period of WYs 2017–21) for chlorophyll a concentrations greater than 20 micrograms per liter to be detected no more than 5.0 percent of the time (the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources criterion for chlorophyll a impairment for the lake). Based on Carlson trophic state index relations, external loading would need to be decreased from 6,570 to 4,380 kg/yr (a 35-percent reduction in the potentially controllable external phosphorus load) for summer mean Secchi depths to increase to 3.0 meters. Therefore, for Delavan Lake to reach the water-quality criteria for impairment and the goals for all three water-quality constituents, a 35-percent reduction in the potentially controllable phosphorus load is needed, which equates to a reduction in total phosphorus loading from 6,570 to 4,380 kg/yr. A 35-percent reduction in phosphorus loading to improve the water quality of Delavan Lake is less than the 49-percent reduction in phosphorus loading required for the area near Delavan Lake to improve the water quality of the Rock River and its tributaries indicated in the Rock River total maximum daily load.
|Title||Response in the water quality of Delavan Lake, Wisconsin, to changes in phosphorus loading—Setting new goals for loading from its drainage basin|
|Authors||Dale M. Robertson, Benjamin J. Siebers, Reed A. Fredrick|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Upper Midwest Water Science Center|