Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018SD268B

Evaluating and predicting the risk of algal blooms in South Dakota lakes using remote sensing

Institute: South Dakota
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $24,147 Total Non-Federal Funds: $48,294

Principal Investigators: Rachel McDaniel, Bruce Bleakley, John McMaine

Abstract: South Dakota lakes are a public good, providing opportunities for recreational enjoyment including swimming, boating, and fishing. However, algal blooms impact the condition of these lakes, resulting in issues ranging from the aesthetic to fish kills to toxic conditions for recreators, thus reducing or eliminating this recreational enjoyment and potentially creating a health hazard. Algal blooms are a common occurrence in South Dakota lakes with algae growth being the second highest cause for impairments, impacting over 25,000 acres. The goal of this project is to use remotely sensed data to evaluate algal blooms in South Dakota’s lakes and identify variables to assist in the prediction of their occurrence. This will be achieved by identifying algal bloom occurrences using satellite imagery, assessing the spatial and temporal trends in algal blooms, and identifying significant predictive variables to assess algal bloom risk. Existing data, including three sources of satellite imagery and historical chlorophyll-a data, will be used along with GIS software to evaluate algal blooms. A better understanding of algal bloom characteristics (e.g. timing, extent, intensity, etc.) and prediction of blooms via site specific characteristics (e.g. temperature, rainfall, surrounding land use, etc.) could provide recreators with advanced warning if water quality in the lake is likely to deteriorate due to algal blooms as well as identify potential contributors to algal blooms which can be targeted as a means of water quality improvement.