In partnership with the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources a continuous monitoring of lake level and temperature gauge has been installed near the State Park. The data is posted on the USGS webpage.
The level gauge and the temperature component require regular calibration and maintenance. The Foundation has committed to paying for the maintenance costs.
Eric Null, the Lake Manager has written a note about the utility of the continuous temperature monitoring for our Eutrophic lake: “There are three basic types of lakes, Dystrophic, Eutrophic, and Oligotrophic. Dystrophic lakes have no oxygen, while Eutrophic lakes have their greatest amounts of oxygen at the surface, oxygen then decreases as you increase depth, Oligotrophic Lakes have evenly distributed oxygen. Oligotrophic lakes do not turn over seasonally, therefore have a very low nutrient concentration (infertile). Eutrophic lakes turnover seasonally due to their stratification of oxygen, temperature and nutrients.
This turnover is essential for life in a Eutrophic lake. Every spring as the temperature rises and warms the water’s surface to the temperature of the bottom of the lake (lakes can stay 40+ degrees on the bottom during winter), wind mixes the surface with the deeper water, wind continues to mix the water until the top layer of water slides beneath the bottom layer. The bottom becomes the top and brings all of the nutrients that fell to the bottom (dead organic matter) to the surface of the lake where they can be processed by biological organisms. In fall the same event happens in reverse, as the surface water cools it becomes denser and pushes the warmer bottom water to the surface with all of the summer nutrients. These events cause cloudy water that can be tinted green. The cloudiness is nutrients and the green are phytoplankton, the beginning of the food chain of the lake.
These nutrients provide the fuel for life in the lake through the winter and the summer. Without the natural phenomenon of turnover, a Eutrophic or Mesotrophic (a high-quality eutrophic lake) lake could not sustain life. Temperature is vital for fishing especially during turnover. During turnover the temperature, nutrient, and oxygen concentration of the surface changes dramatically for a week or two, usually forcing fish to the bottom of a lake and suppressing their appetites. Also, temperature dictates where in a lake certain fish species will be feeding. Temperature stratification of a lake in summer is the key contributing factor to fishing success.”
Donate to Lake Levels & Water Temperature Gauge Project
The success of projects like these depends on the generous donations of our community members.