A shallow lake in an agricultural landscape – water quality, nutrient loads, future management

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Qualitative analyses of nitrogen and phosphorus loads reaching the lake ecosystem provide a basis for pollution control, which is of paramount importance in shallow lakes due to the rapid turn-over of matter and energy. The studies of both external and internal loading were conducted in Lake Łeknenskie, a very shallow, through-flow lake situated in Western Poland. Strong eutrophication is manifested in rich rush vegetation and a lack of submerged macrophytes as well as nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations (max 13.04 mg N dm−3 and 0.32 mg P dm−3, respectively). Constant domination of cyanobacteria in the phytoplankton community was noted in almost all seasons with a 98% share in summer, resulting in 20 cm water transparency and 223 μg dm−3 of chlorophyll-a. The zooplankton community was dominated by rotifers. The main source of nutrients was the River Nielba. Spatial external nutrient loading was 1.93 g P m−2 yr−1 and 77.55 g N m−2 yr−1. An even higher load of phosphorus was released from the bottom sediments, 2.18 g P m−2 yr−1. A comprehensive action plan is required, aiming at the reduction of both external and internal nutrient loading. A series of solutions regarding local environmental conditions should be applied in the lake catchment, including biogeochemical barriers, denitrification walls, artificial retention basins or wetlands, but most of all – improvement in the functioning of the wastewater treatment plant. Restoration is possible, however, protection measures reducing external loading should be undertaken prior to phosphorus inactivation in the water column and in the bottom sediments, supported by biological methods e.g. biomanipulation.

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