Murky lakes now surpass clear, blue lakes in US

August 22, 2018, Wiley

New research reveals that many lakes in the continental United States are becoming "murkier, with potentially negative consequences for water quality and aquatic life. The findings are published in Limnology and Oceanography.

In the 5 years between 2007 and 2012, the dominant type in the United States shifted from clear, blue lakes to greenish-brown, murky lakes. Blue lakes declined by 18% while murky lakes increased by 12%. The investigators cannot definitively say what is causing this shift, but they suspect that land cover and land use patterns within a watershed, as well as changes in climate, may be important factors.

"Blue lakes typically are those that do not show evidence of nutrient pollution or elevated organic matter while murky lakes have high levels of both," said lead author Dr. Dina Leech, of Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. "A shift toward murkiness is a management concern because murky lakes tend to have more algae, including potentially harmful cyanobacteria. And with poor food quality at the base of the food web, over time murky lakes may not be able to support a healthy fishery."

Explore further: Good news for fishermen—'browning' impacts fish less than expected

More information: Limnology and Oceanography (2018). onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lno.10967

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Doug_Nightmare
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2018
Murky lakes are fertile and productive lakes. Not like the clear - and clearing - blue desert of almost sterile Lake Michigan.

I remember windrows of rotting alewives, excess food for trout, salmon, whitefish, burbot-lawyers. Now with the zebra mussels and conservation efforts the commercial and recreational catch is a tiny fraction of before.

In the Twenties, 50,000 pounds of fish liver came out of Lake Michigan every year for fish liver oil. Be careful of what you wish, you may get it good and hard.

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