For some time, sockeye salmon weren’t able to reach Oregon’s Suttle Lake due to barriers along the Deschutes and Metolius Rivers that kept them out. But thanks to recent remediation efforts, the lake has recently been seeing more sockeye migrating from the Pacific Ocean to spawn.

That would be no problem if the lake had a healthy food web, but there is evidence that salmon native to Suttle Lake, kokanee salmon, have been shrinking in recent years. Many blame their loss in biomass on dwindling food supplies and there is concern amongst aquatic experts that more migrating sockeye salmon could have increasing impacts on Suttle Lake’s food web in the future.

Challenge: Understanding the food web at Suttle Lake

Experts at the High Lakes Aquatic Alliance Foundation are at the fore of addressing those concerns, thanks to a new lake data buoy platform they’ve deployed. Project managers at the foundation worked with NexSens Technology to design the lake data buoy, incorporating sensors and cellular telemetry for capturing high-resolution measurements on the lake’s dynamics.

Solution: A floating data collection platform

In the eastern portion of Suttle Lake, a NexSens CB-450 data buoy supports a number of sensors helpful in tracking conditions that affect the lake’s food web including important salmon populations. These sensors record information on weather, water quality and photosynthetically active radiation (PAR).

A Lufft WS501 multi-parameter weather sensor, mounted on a NexSens-designed sensor mount, sits atop the buoy gathering data on air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind and global solar radiation. Nearby is a LI-COR LI-190R sensor that tracks PAR above water. It sits securely on its own sensor mount, which doubles as a support for the lake data buoy’s solar marine light.

Underwater, a deployment pipe holds a Hydrolab DS5 water quality sonde equipped with sensors to measure Suttle Lake’s temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen and pigments. A LI-COR LI-192 underwater PAR sensor, mounted on a NexSens instrument cage, dissects light penetration from the lake’s surface to 5 feet deep.

All data are recorded by a NexSens logger within the lake data buoy and transmitted via cellular telemetry to officials at High Lakes Aquatic Alliance Foundation who view them in real time via iChart software.


NexSens CB-450 Data Buoy

The NexSens CB-450 Data Buoy is designed for deployment in lakes, rivers, coastal waters, harbors, estuaries and other freshwater or marine environments.

Lufft WS501 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor

The Lufft WS501 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor integrates the Kipp & Zonen CMP 3 pyranometer along with sensors for air temperature, humidity, pressure, solar radiation & wind.

LI-COR LI-192 Underwater PAR Sensor

The LI-COR LI-192 Underwater PAR Sensor Quantum sensor accurately measures photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) in freshwater or saltwater environments.

LI-COR LI-190R PAR Sensor

The LI-190R Quantum Sensor measures photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), which is energy that drives photosynthetic reactions in plants.

YSI EXO2 Multi-Parameter Water Quality Sonde

The YSI EXO represents the next generation of water quality instruments from YSI. The EXO2 sonde includes six sensor ports and a central anti-fouling wiper option.