Tag Archives: science

Update from the MLRC Staff – Fall 2017

– Written by Brenda Fekete and Logan Parker with photographs by Logan Parker

Smoke on the water, darker mornings, the appearance of colored leaves and the extra layer of clothes during our early morning boat rides suggests that a change in seasons is just around the corner… although last week’s summer temperatures caught us by surprise!

We had a wonderful group of nine Colby interns this year. Their work on the lakes, in the lab, in the MLRC Gallery and at Camp Tracy was very much appreciated. All of their efforts in collecting weekly secchi disk transparencies, Insitu water profiles for temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH, phytoplankton analysis and biweekly nutrient (grab) sampling on all seven lakes allowed us to watch the well- mixed spring profiles turn into the stable, stratified summer patterns that still are being recorded to date.   Anoxia in Great Pond, upper Long Pond, Salmon and Messalonskee (Oakland) was observed about two weeks earlier than last year and continues to exist. East Pond has struggled with several blooms this year, but Salmon Lake has not. Gloeotrichia and metaphyton observations on Great Pond and Long Pond appear to similar that of 2016. Summer research intern, Clara Lawry, joined us on the water and created a series of videos detailing some of the tools utilized by the research team this summer.

35606911961_b2506f5fd9_zThe cooler, wetter weather pattern has made sampling a lot easier than the drought conditions we experienced in 2016! Logan and I will continue to sample each of the seven lakes until fall turnover in November. We will also start the sediment sampling process next week. We plan to continue to work on the shoreline mapping with the Colby drone pilots. They have worked out a lot of the kinks and are flying as often as weather and schedules permit.

35895409872_04a5fdfe06_zThe HOBO sensors used to monitor temperature and light at a one meter depth at each of the Gloeotrichia observation points were removed last week. This data, combined with the volunteer data, will be valuable to Gloeotrichia studies at Bates and Colby Colleges. Our Colby team collected measurements on all seven lakes this year and we expanded our monitoring sites on Great Pond and Long Pond. Thank you, again, to the Belgrade Lakes Association and all of our volunteers that continue to help us with this very important project! P.S: we would love to add more observation sites next season… please do spread the word!

The pressure transducers were removed from The Serpentine last month for data collection. They are recharged, redeployed and will remain in The Serpentine until November. The FlowCamVS will remain at the MLRC lab and will be used for phytoplankton analysis by the WQI team and several Colby courses.  Please come by and see the awesome pictures! We will continue to post the weekly secchi measurements, temperature and dissolved oxygen data on the interactive map, and the present and past data on our Water Quality Data page. Please continue to contact us if you have any questions, concerns or comments about the data.

Thank you, again, to all of our wonderful volunteers that have escorted the WQI team to the sampling sites throughout the summer! We will miss all of our volunteers that have headed home for the season, but sure look forward to seeing you all next summer! As for the brave, hearty folks that continue to take us out in the cooler weather, we so appreciate your help and could not complete the fall sampling without you!

35766225281_6ba2edc0e0_zOur summer lecture series has wrapped up after a very successful season of lectures, workshops, and events. We are grateful to the many authors, guest lecturers, and collaborators who made the summer programming such a success. Special thanks to the Belgrade Lakes Association for generously sponsoring many of this year’s events. Although our summer programming has come to a close, there is still plenty of reasons to keep an eye on our Events page. We are continuing to offer programs and workshops at the MLRC throughout the fall and winter. Upcoming events include lectures presented by the Belgrade Historical Society, an advanced bee-keeping workshop, ArcGIS training courses, and village-wide events such as Harvest Fest and Holiday Stroll.

It was a busy, productive and wonderful summer. Enjoy the beautiful Maine fall! Believe it or not, we are already gearing up for winter sampling…

A special aside: Wishing Logan and Hallee all of the best on their wedding this October!

New Sensors Deployed as part of the Belgrade Lakes Gloeotrichia Monitoring Efforts

– Logan Parker, Director of Programming and Assistant Lake Science Manager

Promptly at 9:00 AM Monday morning (July 24th), a number of sensors deployed around Great Pond and Long Pond began a 2-month long, in situ data collection effort. These 15 HOBO sensors are gathering temperature and light data at the observation sites where volunteers around the lakes have been collecting gloeotrichia observation data.

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Gloeotrichia – Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter Countway, Bigelow Laboratory

Gloeotrichia is a cyanobacteria (formally referred to as Blue-green Algae) that occurs in many lakes throughout New England. These organisms have the means to control their buoyancy, residing on the lake sediments for much of the year before rising en masse to be distributed throughout the lake’s surface waters by the currents. Collecting temperature data will give us more insights about the environmental conditions that coincide with the bloom events that have become increasingly numerous in recent decades.

35895409872_b8db8db724_kTraveling by land and water, Brenda Fekete, Logan Parker, and Colby College research intern, Amy Andreini, met with volunteers and installed the sensors on weighted cable 1 meter below the water’s surface. These sensors will remain in place hanging below the ends of docks in places including Hatch Cove, Hoyt Island, Pine Island, and Long Point in Great Pond and Beaver Cove, Bonzos Hollow, and Tracy Cove in Long Pond.

A new observation station was established in Great Pond’s North Bay where Great Meadow Stream flows into the lake. This site is being stewarded by the Belgrade Region Conservation Alliance’s Milfoil crew who work in the stream and the bay regularly throughout the season. Anecdotal reports state that gloeotrichia can be abundant in this area throughout late summer, so we are grateful to have the milfoil team’s support! Students on the MLRC’s water quality research team continue to collect observation data at the DEP sampling sites throughout the watershed.

We would like to issue a special thanks to the Belgrade Lakes Association for sponsoring this research effort by providing our program with these new sensors.

 

Update from the Lake Science Manager – Spring 2017

– Written by Brenda Fekete with photographs by Logan Parker

Wow! Is it really May already? It seems like we were just out cutting holes in the ice to collect winter water profiles. Watching the ice go out at the end of April and listening to the sound of loons on the lakes always reminds us that spring is here and it is time to get sampling! With the recent windy and wet weather and a few boat issues behind us, Logan and I have been sampling on all seven lakes. So far the profiles show typical spring mixing with lots of dissolved oxygen and cold water right to the bottom of the lakes. It is so great to back out on the water!

This year’s team includes nine Colby students. We are pleased to have two students returning from last year’s efforts, and welcome seven new students to the crew. Besides the water quality sampling and data analysis efforts that are so fundamental to our research initiative, one student will be working with Matthew Leahey on an educational program at Camp Tracy on McGrath Pond, and one will be working with Fluid Imaging on the new “CyanoCam”, a FlowCam that is optimized for Cyanobacteria analysis. Please stop us when you see us on the water. We would love to introduce ourselves!

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We knew we were sampling in the right spot on Great Pond when our buoy popped up when we opened the hatch!

We are often out on the water by 8 am. As in the past two seasons, we plan to continue our weekly secchi measurements, Insitu water profiles to include temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH analysis, and surface water samples for plankton analysis on all seven lakes. Grab samples for nutrient and elemental analysis will be taken every two meters on a biweekly basis. We be collecting spring sediment samples and plan to get another round of sediment samples in the fall.

 

In addition to the CyanoCam, new additions to the MLRC wet lab will be equipment to include ChlorophyllA (to compliment our FlowCam work) and color (to compliment our water sample analyses).

The various tanks in the MLRC Gallery and in the Wet Lab are still populated with wildlife collected in the watershed. In addition to the native warm water fish and mudpuppies, Logan has begun working on a new macro-invertebrate tank. He’s collected dragonfly and mayfly nymphs from Mill Stream that will be reared to adulthood and released back outside.

We are currently working with two licensed Colby drone pilots to design protocol that would allow us to update the shoreline maps for each of the seven lakes (last completed in 2011). A second experiment will be to use the drones to locate and assess the movement of metaphyton, and possibly cyanobacteria blooms in late summer. Perfected, this would be a very useful tool to monitor harmful algae blooms (HAB) on our lakes.

The Colby summer interns and our valuable volunteers will continue to monitor Gloeotrichia in all of the lakes, and we are looking forward to becoming involved in the EPA CyanoMonitoring program this year. This program will allow the Belgrade Watershed to be involved in a nationwide CyanoMonitoring effort! We would love to recruit a few more volunteers in the north and south basin of Long Pond and in the North Bay area of Great Pond. If interested, please contact Logan Parker. Please stay tuned for more information about Gloeotrichia monitoring training sessions.

After a bit of a cleanup and redesign, Goldie will be deployed on May 22. Real time data is displayed and explained on the Goldie website.

One of our early spring 2016 projects was to place a Water Quality Test Site buoy at each of the DEP sampling sites on all seven lakes. These buoys required a state permit. Placed at the deepest parts of the lakes, these buoys allow our teams to sample at the exact same site every time on every lake. This results in more consistent data collected from the deepest holes of the lake, thus increasing the accuracy of our results. If you want to know where the deepest part of your lake is … come visit the WQ buoy. However, when visiting, please do not attach your boat to the buoys. Pulling on the buoys will cause the buoys to move from their desired DEP locations. We are currently checking and repositioning the buoys because of movement due to the winter ice.

I would like to, again, thank all of our wonderful volunteers that escorted our students to the sampling sites last season. The students truly enjoy your company and appreciate your help in the sampling process. We would love to ask for your help again during the heavy June through August sampling season. We also welcome any new volunteers that would like to join in the fun!

The weekly secchi measurements, temperature and dissolved oxygen data is presented on the online interactive map. You can also find the present and past weekly data on the MLRC website. Logan has been working all winter to develop a dynamic display that will represent each of the seven lakes in the Belgrade Watershed. This interactive kiosk will function as a library documenting all of the conservation and research efforts in the watershed. Come by this summer to check out this and other updates we’ve made to the Maine Lakes Resource Center gallery over the winter.

If you have any questions or comments about the Belgrade Watershed Water Quality Initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me.

“Pulling together we can save our lakes!”

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Scenes from winter sampling. We trekked out on every lake in the watershed to collect samples and winter water profiles.