12 Things I Learned About Bay Lakes and Nutrients from the Water Resources Research Institute
I moderated a powerful session at the Water Resources Research Institute (WRRI) Annual Conference concerning shallow, relatively small lakes in North and South Carolina.
My number one takeaway is that we are not spending the resources on our unique Carolina Bay Lakes, which are drastically different than our large lakes and reservoirs. As a result, these smaller, more dynamic lakes have fallen to the "back of the line" from an environmental sustainability perspective.
Here are twelve key things I took from each panelist that you should know about Carolina Bay Lakes and the environment:
Michael O’Driscoll – East Carolina University
1. Meteorological conditions greatly impact Carolina Bay Lakes.
2. Carolina Bay Lakes are dynamic systems that are significantly impacted by rainfall and many by groundwater.
3. These are seepage lakes, which may be gaining, losing, or flow-through conditions can vary seasonally and spatially
Nathan Hall – UNC Institute of Marine Science
4. Large increases in total nitrogen and small increases in total phosphorous for most Bay Lakes in North Carolina
5. Atmospheric deposition is a major driver of the increasing changes
6. Atmospheric deposition is not the only influence on Bay Lake nutrient levels
Rob Richardson – NC State University
7. In White Lake, hydrilla popped up and later disappeared to background noise; most larger Piedmont lakes do not behave this way.
Linda Ehrlich - Spirogyra Diversified Environmental Services,
8. The type of phytoplankton changed significantly in White Lake between 2013 (prior to which the water was clear) and 2018 (when toxic algal blooms occurred).
9. Two types of cyanobacteria dominated in 2018 and resulted in two major events in May 2018.
10. Lake clarity has consistently improved since the 2018 event as the phytoplankton has become more diverse.
Diane Lauritsen – LIMNOSCIENCES
11. We have done a poor job of bringing together all of the current information on the Carolina Bay Lakes that has been collected over the last 20 years.
12. Significant advances have been made to re-shape our old ways of thinking about these very unique water bodies.
For a partial recording of the event, visit 2022 Annual Conference | NC Water Resources Research Institute (ncsu.edu) Session 3.
JD Solomon Inc provides services at the nexus of facilities, infrastructure, and the environment. JD Solomon is a member and former chairman of the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC). Visit our website to learn more about the environmental services offered by our firm.