A Shoreline Algal Survey of Torch Lake, Clam Lake and Lake Bellaire
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SubjectTorch Lake; Clam Lake; Lake Bellaire; Boardman-Charlevoix Watershed; HUC 4060105; Water quality
In the summer of 2004 the Three Lakes Association conducted the latest in a series of cladophora surveys on Torch Lake, Clam Lake, and Lake Bellaire. A team of TLA volunteers and Bellaire High School interns using kayaks examined the entire shoreline of these lakes. Wherever cladophora or cladophora like algae was found near the shore, the locations were logged with a Global Positioning System (GPS), the size of the bloom noted, and samples taken. This survey was carried out weekly over the course of ten weeks and when poor weather conditions limited time on the water, the samples were examined under a microscope to determine the type of algae. Cladophora, Ulothrix, and Spirogyra made up approximately 70% of these samples, but like cladophora all grow in response to the presence of low levels of phosphorus. While phosphorus promotes growth of all types of plant life, the ones found in our samples are the earliest and most prolific detectors this substance. Our goal, as in the past, has been to locate places where phosphorus nutrients are coming into our lakes and use them as a roadmap for future examinations of the sources. Sources include lawn fertilizers and soaps, leaking septic systems, agricultural fertilizers, creeks and rivers (which drain regions well away from the shoreline), and natural wells and seeps.