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Science or Snake Oil? Managing eutrophication in Jordan Lake, NC
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Eutrophication is a widespread and growing problem in aquatic ecosystems. Caused by excess nutrient loading from multiple human activities in the watershed, eutrophication is difficult to reverse, often requiring costly reductions in both point and non-point nutrient sources and resulting in long waits for water quality improvements. The high cost of nutrient management has led the State of North Carolina (NC) to pursue alternative means of addressing the water quality impairments of Jordan Lake, a 60 km2 recreational reservoir and drinking water supply in central NC. Thirty-six solar-powered circulators (SPCs) were deployed in two impaired embayments of Jordan Lake which were monitored for water quality improvements over 2 years. To complement the state’s predominately biological monitoring, temperature gradient microstructure was used to estimate turbulence parameters (dissipation) in proximity to and away from the SPCs. I found the physical mixing induced was far less than expected based on claims by the device manufacturer. The State found no effect of the SPCs in its biological monitoring and the pilot project was canceled in August 2016. Results and implications of this project on decision making for eutrophication management will be discussed. 

Time: 4:40 pm
Location: Olin, Room 102
Sponsor: Environmental and Urban Studies Program
Contact: Michele Dominy.
Phone: 845-758-7870

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