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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Crowley Lake, Mono County : nutrient loading and eutrophication


After being classified as eutrophic by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1975, Crowley Lake has been the subject of studies and restoration efforts to manage the nutrient load and subsequent cyanobacterial blooms. Our research project used data from the Landsat satellite images to evaluate the restoration effort implemented in 2000 along Owens River to reduce nutrient loading to Crowley Lake. We focused on the presence of cyanobacteria blooms as an indicator of the eutrophic status and nutrient concentrations in the lake. The results showed strong evidence for continued algal growth on the lake’s surface in 2002, two years after the remediation was completed, however the reflectance from the satellite data is not specific and could reflect the presence of macrophytes rather than surface algae. The size of the algal bloom in 2002 however was reduced from that observed via satellite in 2000. Additional data from other years is necessary to determine whether this is actually a trend or simply a result of aberrant climate or conditions unique to 2002.

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