Lay Monitoring Water Clarity Report to Groton Lake Association, 2006

For a number of years we have been measuring water clarity of the pond during the summer season.  We do this as volunteers to the Department of Environmental Conservation, which collects similar data from all over Vermont.  Since 2005, we have also been taking samples for water quality testing by the State of Vermont.

Using a SECCHI disk, we take clarity readings in designated spots in the southern and northern parts of the pond.  The disk is a heavy steel plate painted in black and white quadrants that we lower into the water.  We measure how deep the disk can be lowered and still be seen.

At the northern location, which is at or near the deepest part of the pond (about 45 feet), we collect samples from twice as deep as SECCHI visibility, usually 6 to 8 meters or so.  We send the samples to Montpelier for testing for phosphorus, and we also send filter samples for chlorophyll content.

We take readings and samples about once a week from June through August, 9 or 10 times a season.  The following are this year’s readings (in meters [1M = about 3 1/2 ft.]):

Date                                   Station 1 (north)                   Station 2 (south)

6/11                                               3.0                                           3.3
6/18                                               3.9                                           3.0
6/23                                               3.0                                           3.0
7/1                                                 2.8                                           2.8
7/8                                                 3.4                                           3.0
7/15                                               3.2                                           3.0
7/23                                               3.6                                           3.1
7/29                                               3.4                                           3.4
8/9                                                 2.9                                           3.2

The average of all clarity readings in 2006 (3.17 meters) is somewhat lower (worse) than in 2005 (3.56 meters) and in 2004 (3.58 meters).  Many factors affect water clarity.  Runoff is an important factor, with less clarity to be expected following spring runoff and after significant amounts of rainfall.  The heavy rainfall we had in June and July very likely affected our clarity readings.  Water temperature can also be a factor, enhancing the growth of algae (chlorophyll content).

On the next page is a table showing readings since 1999 (also 1979-1988 for comparison), when sampling began at Groton Pond.  We will update this chart each year as we receive the data from the State of Vermont.  We are also posting these results on the Groton Pond website.

We’re looking forward to continuing this project in the coming year.

 

[David Donath, September 2, 2006]

 

Annual Water Quality Lay Monitoring Results – Groton Pond

 

Year        Days               Secchi            Chloro-a      Summer TP          Spring TP
         Sampled                     (m)                   (ug/l)                   (ug/l)                   (ug/l)

1979             6                                                                                                       4.0
1980           10                      3.6                                                                            8.0
1981             9                      3.7                                                                            7.0
1982           12                      4.0                                                                            9.0
1983             4                                                                                                    10.0
1984           13                      3.0                      3.6                                                 6.0
1985           13                      3.9                      3.9                                                 7.0
1986           14                      3.5                      2.6                                                 8.0
1987           13                      3.9                      3.2                                              16.0
1988           21                      4.3                      2.5                                                     

                                                                                                                                    

1999           11                      3.7                                                                            6.8

2000           10                      3.4

2001           11                      4.3

2002             8                      3.2

2003             8                      3.7

2004             9                      3.6

2005             9                      3.6                      3.4                   12.0                      6.5

2006             9                      3.2

 

Key:  Secchi refers to visible water clarity (depth in meters).
          Cloro-a refers to the sampled amount of chlorophyll.
          Summer TP refers to the level of phosphorus in the summer samples.
          Spring TP refers to the level of phosphorus in the spring samples.

 

[Amy Picotte, 2005 Vermont Lay Monitoring Report (Waterbury: ANR, 2005), p. 63]