• Food Habits of Irondequoit Bay Fish

      Ellis, Robert H. (1/1/1976)
      This report presents an evaluation of the potential impact of dredging a navigation channel connecting Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario on the fish populations of the area, based on a study of the food habits of the fish. Most fish are largely opportunistic feeders, subsisting largely on the most readily available and abundant food organisms. Yet there may be great differences in the food habits of species or fish inhabiting any given region. These differences result from differences in physical adaptations of a species, the size of the fish, and the particular habitat occupied, Species of fish of differing food habits may respond quite differently to the proposed dredging operations as the result of differing effects on the food organisms. The information in this report supplements that of our previous report concerning the potential environmental impact of the Irondequoit Bay dredging project (Ellis, Haines and Makarewicz, 1976).
    • Limnological Studies Of Sodus Bay And Its Tributaries

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1989)
      In response to public concern created by an abundance of nuisance weeds (i. e. macrophytes) wi thin the three embayments of Wayne County (Sodus, East and Port Bays), the Aquatic Vegetation Control Program was created in 1987 to develop long-term management strategies for the Bays. The program is administered jointly by the Wayne County Planning Board and the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District. The Soil and Water Conservation District recognized early that management of the bay ecosystem would require the development of a data base presently not available. Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District Toward this end, the contracted with SUNY Brockport to collect and analyze limnological data from Sodus Bay and its tributaries. In a separate study, the Community College of the Finger Lakes investigated macrophyte distribution and composition within the Bay. The general objectives of this study were: 1 . To characterize the environmental status and water quality of Sodus Bay during summer conditions; 2. To determine the nutrient and pollutant content of macrophytes in Sodus Bay, Port Bay and East Bay; 3. To conduct selected sediment analyses on Sodus Bay at the mouth of each tributary; 4 . To monitor weekly the five streams entering Sodus Bay for selected chemical parameters from April to June; and 5. To develop nutrient loads for each stream for April to June.
    • Lake Erie 1993, Western, West Central and Eastern Basins: Change in Trophic Status, and Assessment of the Abundance, Biomass and Production of the Lower Trophic Levels

      Dahl, J. A.; Graham, D. M.; Johannsson, O. E.; Millard, E. S.; Myles, D. D. (1/1/1995)
      The western and west central basins were mesotrophic and the eastern basin was oligotrophic, based on many biological and chemical parameters measured in 1993. Gradients were observed for most parameters, with chlorophyll a, nitrogen, phosphorus, silica, and light extinction decreasing from west to east. In the western basin, phytoplankton biomass declined by 51% from 1983-85. Phytoplankton photosynthesis (g C·m-2), predicted from total phosphorus (TP) using a relationship developed in other offshore productivity studies in Lake Ontario, declined by 35% in 1993, without a corresponding decline in phosphorus (P) loading or TP. Diatoms decreased and there was a shift towards smaller phytoplankton species. These changes were attributed to zebra mussel filtration, but were not of sufficient magnitude to reduce zooplankton biomass. In the west central basin, the reductions in phytoplankton biomass were modest. Photosynthesis (g C·m-2) in 1993, was in line with that predicted by TP and the empirical relationship developed in other offshore studies. Limited mussel populations in the west central basin, resulting from low hypolimnetic oxygen concentrations, caused little change in the phytoplankton. There also were no reductions in mean biomass of zooplankton from 1984-87. In the eastern basin, phytoplankton biomass declined by 49% from 1983-85. Photosynthesis (g C·m-2) declined by 50% from the value predicted, from TP and the empirical relationship developed for other studies, for 1983-85, without a decline in P-leading. TP was lower in 1993 and was attributed to filtering by Dreissena and subsequent redirection of pelagic material to the sediments. Phytoplankton species indicative of eutrophy were reduced and there was an overall shift towards smaller species. Zooplankton biomass was also reduced. Mean zooplankton community size and the loss of Daphnia sp. suggest that predation by planktivores as well as a reduced food supply, affected zooplankton biomass in 1993. The Dreissena population also affected the benthic community structure as Diporeia were virtually eliminated from the eastern basin and Gammarus increased in all basins. Benthic biomass was 40% higher on average than in 1979. Dreissena dominated benthic production at all stations except offshore in the west-central basin.
    • Assessment of Abundance, Biomass and Production of the Lower Trophic Levels in the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie, 1994

      Graham, D. M.; Dahl, J. A.; Millard, E. S.; Johannsson, O. E.; White, L. L. (1/1/1996)
      The Lake Erie Biomonitoring (LEB) program conducted in 1994, focused on the eastern basin of the lake, resampling the same sites as in 1993. Nutrient conditions were similar in the two years. Responses differed between the stratified offshore and unstratified nearshore. At the offshore station, seasonal phytoplankton biomass was 56% higher in 1994 than in 1993 and apparently resulted from a reduction in grazing pressure by Dreissena. Dreissena biomass and their potential clearance rates at the offshore station were much lower in the spring of 1994 than in the spring of 1993 (2.5 vs. 14.9 m3·m·2·d·'), respectively. Despite this increase in phytoplankton biomass, chlorophyll (Chi) and phytoplankton photosynthesis (PP) were not significantly higher in 1994. Dinoflagellates, which have lower Chl:C and lower photosynthesis:Chl ratios than other groups of phytoplankton, accounted for much of the increase in biomass. Rotifer biomass decreased by 50% and zooplankton biomass by 40% between the two years. Calanoids were responsible for much of the decrease in zooplankton biomass. Composition also shifted towards larger bodied cladocerans, such as Daphnia and Bythotrephes, and away from Bosmina. This shift coincided with changes in predation pressure. Age-one smelt abundance was extremely high in 1993 and low in 1994, while the reverse was true of the YOY smelt. Age-one smelt consume mainly cladocerans and the YOY, copepods (REF). At the nearshore stations, seasonal PP and Chi were well below that expected given the total phosphorus (TP) concentration, indicating that Dreissena had an important impact on phytoplankton photosynthesis in this region. Low transparency due to suspended sediments also contributed to the low PP at station El. Zooplankton biomass was lower in 1994 than in 1993, and species composition and size shifted. Daphnia increased and calanoids and Bosmina decreased in the nearshore as in the offshore, presumably in response to changes in the smelt population. However, Bythotrephes decreased and rotifer biomass increased unlike in the offshore.
    • The Loss of Nutrients and Materials from Watersheds Draining Into Lake Neatahwanta Oswego County, NY

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (1/1/1998)
      Here we report on the status of Lake Neatahwanta and losses of materials and nutrients from the various watersheds draining into the lake. Since 1994, Oswego Soil and Water Conservation District has begun several projects, Best Management Practices, to remediate and reduce loss of nutrients in the watershed. These include installation of rock rip-rap below the gaging station and the confluence of the Summerville and Sheldon Creeks, the installation of rock rip-rap in the drainage path near the gaging station on Sheldon Creek and the installation of fencing preventing cows from entering Sheldon Creek upstream from the gaging station at the Jeff Richards Farm. All of these management practices serve to reduce nutrient and material loss from the watershed to Lake Neatahwanta. This report updates the current status of the Lake Neatahwanta watershed, especially the Sheldon Creek watershed.
    • Setting a Course for Seneca Lake - The State of the Seneca Lake Watershed 1999

      The Seneca Lake Watershed management planning process began in 1996 with the development of the "Seneca Lake Watershed Study: Developing An Understanding of An Important Natural Resource." The study called for an in-depth description and analysis to determine watershed health. an education and awareness program to educate local residents about watershed issues and stimulate their interest in protecting Seneca Lake, development of a coalition for cooperation and participation in watershed projects, and development of a plan for the watershed and its residents to achieve the following goal: "To protect and enhance Seneca Lake and its surrounding watershed through the encouragement of sound management practices and cooperation at the local level to develop a comprehensive approach for Improving the quality of life and water in the Seneca Lake Watershed." Completion of the preliminary watershed study was instrumental in the creation of the Seneca Lake Area Partners in Five Counties (SLAP-S). Comprised of representatives from local, regional, state, and federal agencies as well as concerned citizens, the group serves as the Oversight Committee for the Seneca Lake Watershed Management Planning process. As part of that process, a comprehensive report, "Setting A Course for Seneca Lake," was completed in 1999. Maintaining high water quality in Seneca Lake is a major purpose of watershed planning. This Executive Summary highlights key findings of the Report. It describes the current "state of the watershed" research, outlines potential threats to water quality in the-watershed, and summarizes the importance of public and municipal government education and outreach efforts. Watershed protection necessarily contains a large educational component that provides a connection to peoples' lives and can include a variety of audiences such as various interest-groups, school children, local government, farmers, cottage-owners, developers, businesses, municipal water drinkers, industries, highway superintendents, anglers and boaters. Undertaking an intense public outreach and education program to cement stakeholder participation in the next phases of the planning process is the next step in the Seneca Lake Watershed Project and "Setting A Course for Seneca Lake" forms a solid foundation for the hard work of planning and implementation that lies ahead.
    • Survey of Lake Ontario Bottom Sediment off Rochester, New York, to Define the Extent of Jettisoned World War II Matèriel and its Potential for Sediment Contamination

      Kennedy, Gregory; Kappel, William; U.S. Geological Survey (1/1/2000)
      Military-type matériel was recovered from the bottom of Lake Ontario near Rochester, N.Y., during bottom-trawl, fish-stock surveys at depths of 75 to 180 feet each year from 1978 through 1996. The recovered matériel included many shell detonator nose cones (2 inches in diameter by about 3.5 inches long); several electronic components; one corroded box of detonators; a corrugated container of mercury-filled capsules; and corroded batteries. Most of the recovered matériel has been identified as defective components of shell detonators (proximity-fuze assemblies) that were jettisoned in the lake to protect them from discovery during World War II. Side-scan SONAR, metal-detector, and ROV (remotely-operated-vehicle) surveys found no evidence of any large piles of matériel containing potentially hazardous, toxic, or polluting materials within the 17-square-mile study site. Many scattered magnetic anomalies were detected in this area, but chemical analysis of bottom sediment and of zebra- and quagga-mussel (Driessena spp.) tissue indicate that the concentrations of mercury and other heavy metals are within the previously documented ranges for Lake Ontario sediment. The failure of ROV videos and of SCUBA-diver surveys and probes of the lake bottom to locate any debris indicates that most, if not all, of the debris is scattered and buried under a layer of fine-grained sediment and, possibly, mussels.
    • Water Resources of Monroe County, New York, Water Years 1994-96, with Emphasis on Water Quality in the Irondequoit Creek Basin

      Sherwood, Donald A.; U.S. Geological Survey (1/1/2001)
      Irondequoit Creek drains 169 square miles in the eastern part of Monroe County. Nutrients transported by Irondequoit Creek to Irondequoit Bay on Lake Ontario have contributed to the eutrophication of the Bay. Sewage-treatmentplant effluent, a major source of nutrients to the creek and its tributaries, was eliminated from the basin in 1979 by diversion to a regional wastewater-treatment facility, but sediment and contaminants from nonpoint sources continue to enter the creek and Irondequoit Bay. This report analyzes data from five surfacewater- monitoring sites in the Irondequoit Creek basin—Irondequoit Creek at Railroad Mills, East Branch Allen Creek at Pittsford, Allen Creek near Rochester, Irondequoit Creek at Blossom Road, and Irondequoit Creek at Empire Boulevard. It is the third in a series of reports that present interpretive analyses of the hydrologic data collected in Monroe County since 1984. Also included are data from a site on Northrup Creek, which drains a 23.5-square-mile basin west of the Genesee River in western Monroe County, to provide information on surface-water quality in a stream west of the Genesee River and on loads of nutrients delivered to Long Pond, a small eutrophic embayment of Lake Ontario, and data from the Genesee River for comparison of historical water-quality conditions with 1994-96 conditions. Water-level and water-quality data from nine observation wells in Ellison Park, and atmospheric-deposition data from Mendon Ponds, also are included. Average annual yields of chemical constituents from atmospheric deposition for 1994-96 were generally similar to those for the previous 10 years (1984-93), except for dissolved sodium, dissolved potassium, total phosphorus, and orthophosphate, which ranged from 42 percent (dissolved sodium) to 275 percent (dissolved potassium) greater than during 1984- 93, and dissolved sulfate and ammonia, which were about 30 percent less than in 1984-93. Loads of all nutrients deposited in the Irondequoit Creek basin from atmospheric sources during water years 1994-96 exceeded those removed by Irondequoit Creek at Blossom Road—ammonia by 5,600 percent, orthophosphate by 2,500 percent, ammonia + organic nitrogen by 350 percent, total phosphorus by 300 percent and nitrite + nitrate by 140 percent. Average yields of dissolved chloride and dissolved sulfate from atmospheric deposition were much less than those transported in streamflow—yields of dissolved chloride from atmospheric sources were only 1.9 percent, and yields of sulfate were only 9.2 percent, of those transported in streamflow at Blossom Road. Concentrations of several chemical constituents in streams of the Irondequoit Creek basin showed statistically significant trends from 2 Water Resources of Monroe County, New York Water Years 1994-96, with Emphasis on Water Quality in the Irondequoit Basin the beginning of their period of record through 1996. The constituents that showed the greatest number of statistically significant trends were dissolved chloride, ammonia, and ammonia + organic nitrogen. Dissolved chloride showed an upward trend at Blossom Road, Allen Creek, and Empire Boulevard and a downward trend at Railroad Mills. Ammonia showed downward trends at Allen Creek, Blossom Road and Railroad Mills. Ammonia + organic nitrogen showed a downward trend at Allen Creek, Blossom Road, and Empire Boulevard. Nitrite + nitrate showed a downward trend at Allen Creek, and orthophosphate showed an upward trend at that site. Turbidity and total suspended solids showed a downward trend at Empire Boulevard. Neither total phosphorus nor volatile suspended solids showed statistically significant trends in concentration at any of the Irondequoit basin sites. Northrup Creek showed a downward trend in total suspended solids and ammonia + organic nitrogen, and an upward trend in dissolved chloride. The Genesee River showed a downward trend in ammonia + organic nitrogen and chloride, and an upward trend in orthophosphate. Most constituents for the 1994-96 water years showed lower average yields at Blossom Road than for the 1989-93 water years, but dissolved chloride showed higher yields for the 1994-96 water years at all sites except Blossom Road. Ammonia + organic nitrogen and total phosphorus showed a decrease in yield at all sites after 1993, and nitrite + nitrate showed slightly higher yields for 1994-96 at the upstream, predominantly rural sites, and lower yields at the downstream, more urban sites, than during 1989-93. The trends and changes in surface-water quality after 1993 can be attributed to several factors within the basin, including land-use changes, annual and seasonal variations in streamflow, and year-to-year variations in the application of deicing salts on area roads. Statistical analyses of long-term (9 years or more) streamflow records of three unregulated streams in Monroe County indicate that annual mean flows for water years 1994-96 were in the normal range (75th to 25th percentile), although Allen Creek showed a statistically significant downward trend in monthly mean streamflow over the 1984- 96 water years.
    • Soil and Nutrient Loss from Selected Subwatersheds of Conesus Lake

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Bosch, Isidro; Lewis, Theodore W.; SUNY Geneseo; The College at Brockport (1/1/2001)
      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the loss of soil and nutrients from the upland area of ten selected small watersheds or subwatersheds surrounding Conesus Lake. Macrophyte beds of mixed composition exist around the entire edge of Conesus Lake – perimeter beds. In addition, macrophyte beds consisting mainly of Eurasian milfoil exist at or near many of the creek mouths within the littoral zone of Conesus Lake. These creek-mouth associated beds are of interest because their presence may be associated with creeks that lose a large amount of nutrients and soils from their subwatershed.
    • Population Studies of Eurasian Watermilfoil ( Myriophyllum spicatum ) and Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in Conesus Lake, N.Y. (Summer 2000)

      Bosch, Isidro; Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Emblidge, Jennifer P.; Johnson, Douglas A.; Valentino, Michael D.; SUNY Geneseo; The College at Brockport (1/1/2001)
      The primary goal of our research during the summer 2000 was to examine the distribution and density Eurasian watermilfoil beds and of populations of zebra mussels in Conesus Lake. The results of this study improve our knowledge of these populations and contribute to the scientific foundation required for consideration of possible management strategies. A secondary goal of this project was to extend our long term database on macrophyte growth at two sites first studied by Herman Forest and his colleagues in 1967.
    • Water Chemistry of the North and South Basins of Conesus Lake

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Bosch, Isidro; Lewis, Theodore W.; SUNY Geneseo; The College at Brockport (1/1/2001)
      The objective of this study was to determine if there were differences in the chemistry of the north and south basins of Conesus Lake during the summer stratification period. To achieve this objective, water samples were taken from 18 May to 2 November 2000 from both basins.
    • Eighteenmile Creek Remedial Action Plan Area of Concern Planktonic Community Study

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (1/1/2002)
      The preponderance of evidence suggests that the plankton community of Eighteenmile Creek is not impacted by contaminants. The summer zooplankton community of Eighteenmile Creek has a similar or higher species richness, a remarkably similar measure of dominance (i.e., evenness) and in July, a comparable abundance to the relatively pollution-free reference sites at Yanty, Buttonwood, and Salmon Creeks. Similarly in June, zooplankton abundance, species richness, and evenness for Eighteenmile Creek were between the values for the reference sites at Yanty Creek and Buttonwood and Salmon Creeks. Further support of this analogous comparison is provided by the phytoplankton data. Species richness, evenness, abundance, and species composition of phytoplankton are similar for Eighteenmile Creek, the unpolluted reference site at Yanty Creek, and for the AOC at the Oswego River and Harbor for the months of June and August. Seasonal changes, sample timing, and local sampling site characteristics and location can be challenging to data assessment and reference site comparison; however, substantially similar and healthy communities indicate no overall degradation or impairment in the planktonic populations in the Eighteenmile Creek AOC.
    • Update of Soil and Nutrient Loss from Subwatersheds of Conesus Lake - 2001

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; The College at Brockport (1/1/2002)
      The State of Conesus Lake: Watershed Characterization Report (2001) identified areas that required additional data to evaluate the current state of the Conesus Lake watershed. A comprehensive update of nutrient and soil loss from all of the major subwatersheds from a study undertaken in 1990-91 (Makarewicz et al. 1991) was listed as a high priority. This study was designed to estimate discrete losses of total phosphorus and total suspended solids in eighteen subwatersheds during the calendar period April to December under both baseline and event conditions. Results of this study will be the ability to assess the change in nutrient loss rates for subwatershed during the past ten years and the prioritization of subwatersheds for further identification of point and nonpoint sources of pollution and their eventual remediation. The skewing of sampling protocol toward events (equal number of baseline and event samples, which doesn’t represent the proportion of event and baseline days in a calendar year) was done with the recognition that many of these streams run intermittently and a majority of their loadings to Conesus Lake occur during event periods (Makarewicz et al. 1991, Makarewicz and Lewis 1999 and 2000). In addition, this study will build upon and strengthen the data gathered in the past two years on the smaller stream and rivulets. Macrophyte beds consisting mainly of Eurasian milfoil exist at or near many of the creek mouths within the littoral zone of Conesus Lake (Fig. 1)(Bosch et al. 2001). These creek-associated beds are of interest because their presence appears to be associated with creeks that lose a large amount of nutrients and soils from their subwatersheds. Some suspected subwatersheds are candidates for a USDA grant to evaluate management plans that may reduce nutrient and soil loss.
    • Status of the Lake Ontario Food Web in a Changing Ecosystem: the 2003 Lake Ontario Lower Aquatic Food Web Assessment (LOLA)

      Mills, Edward L.; Dermott, Ron; Munawar, Mohi; Millard, Scott; Johannsson, Ora; Rudstam, Lars G.; Cornell University; Fisheries and Oceans Canada (1/1/2003)
      Understanding stressor impacts on ecological processes in Lake Ontario over the last three decades has resulted from a commitment to long-term binational studies by environmental agencies and their dedicated scientists and support staffs in both Canada and the United States. LOLA was initiated at the request of the United States and Canada Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission’s Lake Ontario Committee with the following two goals: 1) assess the status of and 2) develop recommendations for the long-term comprehensive assessment of the Lake Ontario lower aquatic food web. The 2003 LOLA project incorporated seasonal sampling at a large spatial scale, providing the most comprehensive assessment of the status of Lake Ontario’s lower food web since the Lake Ontario Trophic Transfer Program in 1995. Partners from seven government agencies and six universities and colleges participated in the LOLA project. A workshop attended by LaMP representatives, government agencies, and academics was held at Cornell University on November 16-17, 2005. Discussions based on significant findings that were presented at the workshop resulted in seven recommendations for future assessment of the Lake Ontario lower aquatic food web.
    • Conesus Lake Limnology: Including Lake Chemistry, Phytoplankton and Estimates of Internal Loading in 2004

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Bosch, Isidro; Lewis, Theodore W.; SUNY Geneseo; The College at Brockport (1/1/2004)
      During the spring, summer, fall and winter of 2004 and 2005, various limnological data were collected from Conesus Lake to assist in the implementation of the Conesus Lake Watershed Management Plan. In general, monitoring and analysis are designed to meet the following objectives: (1) Refine the estimates of external loading of sediments and nutrients from the watershed, (2) Refine the estimates of internal loading of phosphorus (that is, phosphorus released from lake sediments), (3) Characterize the lake’s community of algae (phytoplankton and metaphyton) and zooplankton to provide a benchmark against which the effectiveness of future management actions can be measured.
    • Seasonal and Vertical Distribution, Food Web Dynamics and Contaminant Biomagnification of Cercopagis pengoi in Lake Ontario

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Damaske, Elizabeth; Laxson, Corey; MacIsaac, Hugh J.; Grigorovich, Ivan A.; The College at Brockport; University of Windsor (1/1/2004)
      During the early growth season of 1999 to 2001, Cercopagis abundance in offshore waters of Lake Ontario remained low (less than 30 individuals/m3). From late July, its abundance increased rapidly until it peaked during August. After first appearing in 1998, maximum offshore abundance in Lake Ontario decreased each year since 1999 (1999:1759/m3; 2000: 679/m3; 2001: 355/m3). Cercopagis appears not to migrate below the thermocline and is restricted to the epilimnion. A comparison of pre- and post-invasion average abundance of Daphnia retrocurva, Bosmina longirostris and Diacyclops thomasi suggests that Cercopagis is having a major effect on zooplankton composition and abundance in Lake Ontario. Abundance of all three species has decreased significantly in the offshore waters since the invasion of Cercopagis. Preliminary results also suggest that insertion of Cercopagis pengoi into the Lake Ontario food web will not elevate levels of hydrophobic organic compounds in salmonids through biomagnification.
    • Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative Action Agenda 2004

      Landre, Betsy; Lewandowski, Stephen; Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Terninko, John; Thorndike, Elizabeth; Center for Environmental Information; Finger Lakes–Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance; Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District; The College at Brockport (1/1/2004)
      The mission of the Lake Ontario Coastal Initiative (LOCI), encompassing all New York State North Coast stakeholders from the Niagara River to the St. Lawrence River, is to enlist and retain broad public commitment for remediation, restoration, protection, conservation and sustainable use of the coastal region. This mission will be accomplished by securing funds and resources to achieve scientific understanding, educate citizens, and implement locally supported priorities, programs and projects as identified through this Initiative.
    • Silver Lake Limnological Survey, 2004

      Makarewicz, Joseph C.; Lewis, Theodore W.; Guenther, William; The College at Brockport (1/1/2005)
      During the spring, summer and fall of 2004, a limnological survey of Silver Lake was conducted. The purpose of the survey was to update the status of Silver Lake. Some of the questions being asked were as follows. Was the lake highly productive? Were the bottom layers of the lake devoid of oxygen? Was phosphorus being released from the sediments into the water column? Were there algal blooms? What might be the cause of them? Were there blue-green algae present? Were algal toxins present? When? Monitoring was designed to take samples only during the summer period with depth to minimize cost. We decided to sample an extra week in the fall because of the blue-green algae bloom that was observed during September of 2004.
    • Water Resources of Monroe County, New York, Water Years 2000-02 Atmospheric Deposition, Ground Water, Streamflow, Trends in Water Quality, and Chemical Loads in Streams

      Sherwood, Donald A. (1/1/2005)
      This report, the fifth in a series that presents analyses of the hydrologic data collected in Monroe County since 1984, interprets data from four surface-water-monitoring sites in the Irondequoit Creek basin (Irondequoit Creek at Railroad Mills, East Branch Allen Creek at Pittsford, Allen Creek near Rochester, and Irondequoit Creek above Blossom Road); and from three sites on tributaries to the Genesee River (Oatka Creek at Garbutt, Honeoye Creek at Honeoye Falls, and Black Creek at Churchville) and from the Genesee River at Charlotte Docks. It also interprets data from a site on Northrup Creek, which provides information on nutrient loads delivered to Long Pond, a small eutrophic embayment of Lake Ontario. The report also includes water-level and water-quality data from nine observation wells in Ellison Park, and atmospheric-deposition data from a collection site at Mendon Ponds. Atmospheric Deposition: Average annual precipitation for 2000-02 was 33.11 in., 0.94 in. below normal. Average annual loads of some chemical constituents in atmospheric deposition for 2000-02 differed considerably from those for the previous period of record. Loads of all nutrients except ammonia decreased by amounts ranging from 28 percent (ammonia + organic nitrogen and phosphorus) to 2 percent (nitrite + nitrate), whereas ammonia loads an increased by 8 percent. Loads of dissolved sodium and total zinc in atmospheric deposition increased by 56 percent, and 54, percent respectively, over the previous period of record. Average annual loads of other constituents showed decreases ranging from 41 percent (dissolved magnesium) to 17 percent (dissolved chloride). Loads of all nutrients deposited in the Irondequoit Creek basin from atmospheric sources during 2000-02 greatly exceeded those transported by Irondequoit Creek. The ammonia load deposited in the basin was 165 times the load transported at Blossom Road (the most downstream site); the ammonia + organic nitrogen load was 2.8 times greater, orthophosphate 9.7 times greater, total phosphorus 1.2 times greater, and the nitrite + nitrate load was 1.6 times greater. Average yields of dissolved chloride and dissolved sulfate from atmosphoric sources were much less than those transported by streamflow at Blossom Road—chloride was about 1.5 percent and sulfate about 9.1 percent of the amount transported by Irondequoit Creek. Ground water: Ground-water-levels and water quality data were collected from 9 observation wells in Ellison Park in Monroe County. All wells except Mo 2 and Mo 659 are in the flood plain of Irondequoit Creek. Water levels indicate frequent reversals in direction of lateral flow toward or away from Irondequoit Creek, and all wells except Mo2 and Mo 659 respond to water level fluctuations in the Creek. Trend tests on water levels for the period of record indicate a slight upward trend in water levels at all nine wells, two of which (Mo 3 and Mo 667) were statistically significant. Concentrations of ammonia and ammonia + organic nitrogen showed a general decrease for the current period of record. Total phosphorus concentrations showed an increase at four wells and a decrease at four wells. Water quality data showed that the highest median concentrations of nutrients continues to occur in Mo 667 and the highest median concentrations of common ions was at Mo 664. Streamflow: Statistical analysis of long-term (greater than 15 years) streamflow records for unregulated streams in Monroe County indicated that annual mean flows for water years (A water year is the 12-month period from October 1 through September 30 of the following year.) 2000-02 generally were in the normal range (75th to 25th percentile), although Allen Creek continued to show a significant downward trend in mean monthly streamflow during the 1984-2002 water years. Chemical Concentration in Streams: Concentrations of several constituents in streams of the Irondequoit Creek basin showed statistically significant (a = 0.05) trends from the beginning of their period of record through 2002. Three of the four Irondequoit Creek sites (Allen Creek, Blossom Road, and Railroad Mills) showed downward trends in ammonia (4.6 to 12.0 percent per year) and ammonia + organic nitrogen (2.8 to 5.3 percent per year). Allen Creek showed downward trends in nitrite + nitrate and total phosphorus (both 1.2 percent per year), and Irondequoit Creek above Blossom Road showed an upward trend in orthophosphate (1.8 percent per year). Three Irondequoit Creek sites showed upward trends in dissolved chloride: Railroad Mills (4.8 percent per year), Allen Creek, and Blossom Road (both 1.9 percent per year). Allen Creek showed a downward trend in sulfate of 0.98 percent per year, whereas Blossom Road showed a downward trend in suspended solids of 4.0 percent per year. Volatile suspended solids showed an upward trend of 3.2 percent per year at Allen Creek and a downward trend of 2.2 percent per year at Blossom Road. Northrup Creek in western Monroe County, showed significant downward trends in concentrations of volatile suspended solids (2.5 percent per year), total phosphorus (5.3 percent per year), and orthophosphate (9.9 percent per year). The Genesee River at Charlotte Docks showed downward trends in volatile suspended solids (2.1 percent per year) and ammonia + organic nitrogen (4.5 percent per year). Oatka Creek at Garbutt showed an upward trend of 21.4 percent per year in turbidity. Chemical Loads in Streams: Mean annual yields (pounds or tons per square mile) of many constituents at the Irondequoit Creek sites were lower than those in previous reporting periods. Suspended solids and nitrite + nitrate yields were lower at three of the sites, and yields of volatile suspended solids, ammonia, and total phosphorus were lower at two of the sites. East Branch Allen Creek showed lower yields for five of the nine constituents for 2000-02, than for previous reporting periods. The decreased yields at East Branch Allen Creek are likely due to the Jefferson Road stormflow-detention basin and the much lower than normal runoff for the 2000-02 period.
    • Genesee River Lake Sturgeon Project

      Fact sheet on lake sturgeon and a survey of them in Genesee River.