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Project ID: PA2741

Title: Environmental and Hydrodynamic Impacts of Recreational Watercraft on Shallow Lakes

Focus Categories: Sediments, Water Quality

Keywords: Boating, Fluid Mechanics, Lakes, Nutrients, Reservoir Management, Suspended Sediments, Water Quality Management

Start Date: 06/01/2001

End Date: 05/31/2002

Federal Funds: $12,627

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $23,717

Congressional District: 5th

Principal Investigator:
David F. Hill
Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University


The current proposal seeks funds to conduct a study of the impact of recreational watercraft traffic on water quality and clarity in shallow lakes. Of particular interest is a solid understanding of the hydrodynamic processes involved. Sediment resuspension, which can lead to increased turbidity and elevated levels of nutrients, such as phosphorous, and pollutants trapped in the sediment, has two sources related to watercraft use. The first is the direct interaction of turbulent prop or jet wash on the water-sediment interface. The second is the shoaling of wakes as they propagate into shallow regions of the lakes. The current study will focus solely on resuspension due to prop wash.

The main goal of this study is to be able to predict the onset of sediment motion as a function of boat speed, type, horsepower, as well as water depth. The second goal of this study is to begin to develop a model which, based upon statistical information on the boat densities and use patterns, sediment characteristics, and bathymetry of a specific lake, will be able to estimate the total suspended sediment load due to the boat traffic. The final product, therefore, will be a management tool which can be used to determine if, where, and when restrictions on boat power, speed, and operating depth are appropriate.

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday June 24, 2004 3:18 PM
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