Inland Lake Monitoring System

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Inland lakes are important resources, as they provide habitat, food, drinking water, recreational opportunity, real estate, abundant opportunity for study, and much more. Lake water quality may be threatened by many different human activities and natural processes. Automated water quality monitoring stations can help document and predict changes occurring in a lake environment.

Inland Lakes

Small, inland lakes are potentially vulnerable ecosystems that can be polluted both directly and through inflows from rivers and streams. Resulting poor water quality can have a number of adverse effects.
Lakes may be polluted with heavy metals, pathogens, organic compounds, and other pollutants due to waste dumping, runoff, sewage, and other sources.
Recreational value may be lost if fish populations are reduced, and lakes can even become harmful for humans if large amounts of toxins are present.
Nutrient loading due to agricultural runoff or chemical dumping can disrupt food webs, reduce water clarity, and trigger cyanobacterial blooms.
Thermal pollution from industrial facilities may impact aquatic life by changing DO levels or shocking them with sudden temperature fluctuations.
Cyanobacterial blooms may result in toxin buildup and/or anoxic zones, both of which reduce water quality and cause fish kills.
Acid rain can lower pH to potentially toxic levels for fish and other aquatic organisms.
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Typical Inland Lake Monitoring System

Most inland lake monitoring systems are best configured with an offshore floating platform. These platforms are often configured with water quality, weather and atmospheric sensors, water column profiling strings and near real-time communications.

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Visit the Fondriest Learning Center to learn more about the fundamentals of environmental measurements.

Case Studies

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Stone Lab Buoy Tracks Algae

Even before the Toledo Water Crisis, researchers at Stone Lab were concerned with the algae blooming in Lake Erie. With their location on the lake’s Gibraltar Island, it was easy for them to see the tides whipping up green stuff each day in the summer months. So long before the crisis, which took place in August 2014, scientists at the Ohio State University lab began working with engineers at NexSens Technology to devise a monitoring solution that would fit their needs. In addition, the platform would need to be versatile enough to meet the lab’s mission of education, research and outreach.

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Lake Nipissing Algae Events

Despite Lake Nipissing’s popularity as a destination for tourists and fishermen in Ontario, Canada, relatively little is known about nutrient availability for algae that sometimes blooms there. Luckily, several investigators at the University of Saskatchewan and Nipissing University are working to fill the gap in understanding. Key to answering their questions is learning more about the lake’s stratification, or how its water column differentiates based on changes in temperature. These differences play an important role in how the lake mixes — during long periods of stability, bottom waters can become anoxic and sedimentary phosphorus can become mobile and available to Lake Nipissing algae communities.

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Algae Bloom Monitoring Network

When the tourist season heats up in northeastern Oklahoma each year, the number of people flocking to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees puts its population high enough to compete with that of larger cities in the state, including Oklahoma City and Tulsa. All the swimming, fishing and boating that goes on means there is a lot of primary body contact with the lake’s water. Because of that, as well as growing national interest in protecting the water quality of freshwater lakes in the face of harmful algal blooms that are occurring more commonly, officials with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board plan to deploy several data buoys to form an algae bloom monitoring network.

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