Though Moose Pond’s water quality remains one of the highest in our area, the constant loading of nutrients through storm water runoff is changing our lake.
Trend analysis from 1990-2010 as well as from 2000-2010 both show a downward trend in water clarity which is a key indicator of lake health. More algae growth and more sediment in the water column are the two most likely causes for this trend. In the 10 year period from 1992-2001, average water clarity was 25.1 feet. In the last 10 years, average water clarity has dropped to 23.6 feet, which is a 6% decline.
Phosphorus, which is the nutrient that controls algae populations in the lake, enters Moose Pond through streams and tributaries, stormwater runoff, snowmelt and from the air. Although decaying organic matter and the weathering of rocks release some phosphorus to downstream waters, the majority of this nutrient comes from human sources.
Roads, yards, driveways, houses and poor septic systems are all major sources. Studies have shown that developed land exports 5 to 10 times more phosphorus than undeveloped land. This extra phosphorus is immediately taken up by algae which quickly grow and reproduce thus lowering water clarity.
Excessive algae growth leads to increased bacterial decomposition in the deeper waters which reduces dissolved oxygen concentrations. This process can reduce or eliminate habitat for cold water fish such as salmon and trout. This problem is occurring right now in Moose Pond and will only get worse in the future unless corrective action is taken to address the driving issue of phosphorus pollution.
The decline in water quality that Moose Pond is experiencing is the result of our failure to adequately control storm water runoff from development within the land that drains to the pond. Poor land use decisions and management practices on both residential and commercial property throughout the watershed are changing Moose Pond’s water quality and this trend can only be reversed with the help of everyone in the watershed.
The following articles can help you to learn about the things we all can do to help protect our pond. Just click on one of the titles to open up the article or guide.