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Old 03-04-2021, 09:31 PM   #1
montcalm
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Adirondack Lake Science

https://youtu.be/YFOFwA2KU3Q

I came across this again looking for something else. This is not new, and it may have been posted on this forum already, but I could not find it... soooo...

Fairly interesting documentary about the research regarding how watersheds in the Adirondacks handle pollutants.

One interesting observation they make is the vast majority of pollution from rainwater comes from direct deposition onto the lake rather than runoff. The forest can, and does, filter a fair deal of the nitrogen pollution (which is what they were talking to).

They found it interesting, although confirming what is observed in many ecological system, that understanding any particular water bodies throughout the hydrological system required understanding the whole system, and not those in close proximity i.e. everything connected.
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Old 03-05-2021, 01:47 PM   #2
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http://www.adirondacklakessurvey.org/historic.php
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:45 PM   #3
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WOW - that's a great link!
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Old 03-08-2021, 11:12 AM   #4
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I know that data is kind of old from the ALS, but it's pretty interesting. I started looking over a lot of ponds/lakes that I'm familiar with and it's amazing how different some of them are (hence why the Cary Institute did their study). Some have vastly different characteristics even within close proximity.

I looked at a number of the ponds in the southern 5 Ponds and Pepperbox and most were dead. Highly acidic, shallow. Probably not much dissolved O2. Little more than beaver ponds. But is that really the case? Does anyone know if any of those ponds supported fish in years past?
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Old 03-08-2021, 11:33 AM   #5
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There is more than one small lake in the area you mention that has been experimentally limed in not too many years past. The DEC dropped bags of lime on the ice in winter so it dissolved during the spring melt, when acidification was the worst. I have seen the lime residue in the shallows of some, and those lakes do have a decent thriving trout population now. I've hiked into them and caught a few brookies.
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Old 03-08-2021, 12:34 PM   #6
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Yes, I've heard of that being done. Glad to know it has some success.

So I'm guessing those ponds probably did have fish at one time. I know that area has a history of having a lot of "sportsmen's" camps before the state got hold of it.

One thing I'm a little unclear about is why these low volume ponds/lakes don't get flushed of their acid over the years of having less acidic deposition? You would think with all the rainfall we have in the western Adirondacks that all those acids would have gone down the Oswegatchie or Beaver River by now and off into the sea.
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Old 03-08-2021, 06:19 PM   #7
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I believe it is due to the natural condition of the soils in the region being acid to begin with, plus the tannin and decomposing leaf litter adds to the acid. So there is no natural ability to obtain neutral pH water in the first place. Interestingly, just a few miles west on the other side of the Black River valley, there are vast limestone deposits that would neutralize any acid. Accumulated winter snows melt and release an entire season of acid contained in the precipitation all at once, just at the critical wrong time when trout are spawning and most susceptible to reproductive failure from acid water. Soils in the eastern Adirondacks are less acid, plus most of the acid precipitation from Ohio smoke stacks and other polluters has already been deposited to on the western Adirondacks. I am sure you can find scientific studies published on the process, especially regarding acid rain in this region. I've read some in the past, but memory on specifics is perishable.
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Old 03-08-2021, 07:45 PM   #8
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Looking through the data it definitely seems like small, shallow ponds with a lot of muck silt or organic bottom are the most acidic and lacking fish.

A lot of ponds that I thought would have been fairly highly impacted were in pretty good shape, other than invasives.

I also recall having terrible heartburn on backpacking trips in the western Adirondacks after drinking the water for a long period of time. It was the first time I ever experienced it and thought perhaps it was the tannins, but I think now, looking at the data, it was the areas I was in and the ponds and streams being below 5 pH.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:06 PM   #9
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My wife usually tries to tune out whatever video rabbit hole I've gone down, but while watching that link above I asked her if she'd ever been to the Cary Institute. Her job there is what brought her to NYS. She watched the video.

Good to know about research being done in this manner, I can imagine being in a wilderness area and seeing that plane come down and fill a water bottle then leaving and thinking they'd done it just to get a drink.
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Old 03-08-2021, 09:12 PM   #10
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Good to know about research being done in this manner, I can imagine being in a wilderness area and seeing that plane come down and fill a water bottle then leaving and thinking they'd done it just to get a drink.
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Old 03-08-2021, 11:30 PM   #11
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I believe it is due to the natural condition of the soils in the region being acid to begin with, plus the tannin and decomposing leaf litter adds to the acid. So there is no natural ability to obtain neutral pH water in the first place. Interestingly, just a few miles west on the other side of the Black River valley, there are vast limestone deposits that would neutralize any acid. Accumulated winter snows melt and release an entire season of acid contained in the precipitation all at once, just at the critical wrong time when trout are spawning and most susceptible to reproductive failure from acid water. Soils in the eastern Adirondacks are less acid, plus most of the acid precipitation from Ohio smoke stacks and other polluters has already been deposited to on the western Adirondacks. I am sure you can find scientific studies published on the process, especially regarding acid rain in this region. I've read some in the past, but memory on specifics is perishable.

The answer is in the ALSC report... somewhat.

The type of lake impacted is definitely as I was seeing in the data - they are mostly what they call mounded seepage lakes. The lakes get most of their input from direct deposition on the lake surface and have no outlet. Layers of muck and organic matter tend to seal them off a bit. These lakes/ponds must lose water through the ground and evaporation. I'm not sure if the acids cannot move through the groundwater, but the acidification doesn't seem to be an issue for what they call flow-through seepage lakes, which don't have a lot of muck and organic matter. Perhaps the peat traps enough of the acidic water to keep increasing the pH?

There's also a fair deal of chemistry that I don't understand, and I don't think was well understood in the report either. Yes, there are a number of natural processes that make certain lakes acidic, and they have low neutralizing capabilities but it doesn't really answer why the depositions become trapped and increase the pH to a lethal level - if that is even the case. It seems like they didn't really know how well those type of ponds could support fish. Also whether or not a total freeze of the pond (because its small and shallow) could be responsible for killing the fish population.

The lakes that were probably the most disturbing to people were the "thin-till drainage lakes" that were becoming sterilized. A very small amount of the lakes that were acidic were this type. And some still had fish at the time of the survey.
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:41 PM   #12
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...Accumulated winter snows melt and release an entire season of acid contained in the precipitation all at once, just at the critical wrong time when trout are spawning and most susceptible to reproductive failure from acid water...
Native species of trout (i.e. brookies and lakers) are fall spawners. Brown trout are as well. Rainbows, however, do spawn in the spring. Regardless, that gush of acid snow melt is a bad deal for sure
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:45 PM   #13
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oops, I was not aware of the exact timing. I had aways heard that acid affects trout reproduction, did not know when, but the worst acidification is known to come during spring melt. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-11-2021, 12:18 PM   #14
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I know I've seen some anglers talk about this on the forum before, but can the brookies repopulate those small, high altitude ponds again if there was a die-off (either from acidification or freezing)? I assume there's at least a chance if they have an outlet i.e. drainage lakes. I don't see how they could repopulate the mounded seepage lakes i.e. no inlets or outlets. And how were they populated in the first place? By humans or other animals?
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:06 PM   #15
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You're right...I believe it is Lake Colden. Brook trout and their decendents are millions of years old..they have been here well before the Adirondacks, as we know them, formed. Still it's hard to fathom how they survived all of the geologic changes like upheavals, glaciers, etc
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:19 AM   #16
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This is outside my realm of solid understanding but I've always understood that there has been some speculation within the scientific community that birds (waterfowl) have played a role in the transport of fish eggs to land-locked water bodies that either have no outlet, or have a fish barrier on the outlet (i.e., a waterfall too tall to swim up). For years, the assumption was that eggs would become lodged in the feathers or on the feet of a bird when it landed on a water body where the eggs had been laid, then transported to the isolated water body when the bird relocated to that pond/lake.

More recently, however, there's been an increased focus on looking instead at waterfowl digestive systems as the mode of transport- i.e., the bird eats a fish egg whole while on the waterbody where that egg was laid, then relocates to the isolated water body and poops the egg out, still whole and alive.

A google search brings up no shortage of articles on the subject, with varying levels of support for or against the idea that waterfowl is somehow involved.
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Old 03-12-2021, 09:36 AM   #17
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Excellent!

Yeah, I was guessing there must be some other transport mechanism.

I thought I had heard people claim that fish (brook trout in particular) populated the Adirondacks as the glaciers receded by following the melt pathways and new formations of ponds/lakes, and that those populations had been there since then. But reading other information, that tends to make more sense to me, leads me to believe this to be rather improbable that those original populations could have survived until relatively recently considering eutrophication and freezing of small water bodies.

I'm not sure I'm interested in the details of the forefront of the debate, just rather what is being investigated. I'm not near well versed enough on any of this to have any sort of real opinions.

Last edited by montcalm; 03-12-2021 at 10:04 AM..
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Old 03-15-2021, 01:30 AM   #18
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Old 03-15-2021, 09:44 AM   #19
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Old 03-18-2021, 11:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
This is outside my realm of solid understanding but I've always understood that there has been some speculation within the scientific community that birds (waterfowl) have played a role in the transport of fish eggs to land-locked water bodies that either have no outlet, or have a fish barrier on the outlet (i.e., a waterfall too tall to swim up). For years, the assumption was that eggs would become lodged in the feathers or on the feet of a bird when it landed on a water body where the eggs had been laid, then transported to the isolated water body when the bird relocated to that pond/lake.

More recently, however, there's been an increased focus on looking instead at waterfowl digestive systems as the mode of transport- i.e., the bird eats a fish egg whole while on the waterbody where that egg was laid, then relocates to the isolated water body and poops the egg out, still whole and alive.

A google search brings up no shortage of articles on the subject, with varying levels of support for or against the idea that waterfowl is somehow involved.
Given that trout eggs are generally buried in gravel, it's unlikely any transport happens via waterfowl. That argument has been made with invasive fish like perch and shiners but it doesn't hold up. Most of these lake/pond systems were brook trout and/or lake trout monocultures since the glaciers receded. The introduction of yellow perch, etc happened after the area was settled. I don't think that's a coincidence. It is likely that many isolated bodies of water without connecting streams were devoid of brook trout originally. There was no way for them to migrate to them. We stock them today because all the original large systems degraded. Don't get me started on that.
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