Title: Historical Ecological and Geochemical Analysis of Lakes Eucha and Spavinaw
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 03/01/2006
End Date: 02/28/2007
Congressional District: 2
Focus Categories: Sediments, Agriculture, Non Point Pollution
Keywords: Eucha-Spavinaw Ecosystem, sediments, chronology, geochemistry, algae, phytoplankton
Principal Investigators: Fisher, J. Berton; Potter, Bill; Roberts, Ken; Tapp, Bryan; Wells, Harrington
Federal Funds: $25,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $50,149
Abstract: The proposed research project analyzes changes in the Eucha-Spavinaw watershed aquatic ecosystem from the first closure of the Spavinaw Creek drainage in 1924 until today. These water-supply lakes provide approximately half the drinking water for approximately one-half million persons in northeast Oklahoma. Although originally oligotrophic, these lakes are now both nutrient-enriched and display high or excessive levels of algal production that impair their use as water-supply lakes.
This research will determine historic changes in sediment loading, geochemical inputs and ecosystem status within Lakes Eucha and Spavinaw. These changes will be correlated with changes in land used and land cover within the watershed of these lakes. This analysis will provide a predictive model for the future viability and sustainability of the Eucha-Spavinaw Watershed. The overall approach has potential applicability to other watersheds impacted by nutrient-rich agricultural runoff.
The proposed investigation will involve several unique but intertwined studies on ecosystem changes in the watershed from the closure of Spavinaw dam in 1924 to present day by focusing on the following:
1) Retrospective Landscape Ecologic Changes--This portion of the study is to document changes in land use and land cover, human population and agricultural activity. All spatial data will be managed using ArcView GIS.
2) Historic Water Quality Trends--This portion of the study is to assemble available historic water quality data, including direct and indirect observations relevant to the phytoplankton community. In addition, spatially relevant historic climactic records, specifically precipitation, stream discharge and temperature data, will be reviewed to support interpretations of the historic water quality data.
3) Sediment Chronology--The purpose of this work is to correlate changes in landscape ecology within the Spavinaw Creek watershed to the chronology of physical, geochemical and biological changes observed in unconsolidated sediments accrued within Lakes Eucha and Spavinaw.
This research has the potential to prolong the useful lives of drinking water reservoirs in northeastern Oklahoma, and contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture in this region.
Progress/Completion Report, PDF