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. 2019;11(6):1-1125.
doi: 10.3390/w11061125.

An Ecological Function Approach to Managing Harmful Cyanobacteria in Three Oregon Lakes: Beyond Water Quality Advisories and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

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An Ecological Function Approach to Managing Harmful Cyanobacteria in Three Oregon Lakes: Beyond Water Quality Advisories and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)

Eric S Hall et al. Water (Basel). .
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Abstract

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) uses Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculations, and the associated regulatory process, to manage harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHABs) attributable to non-point source (NPS) pollution. TMDLs are based on response (lagging) indicators (e.g., measurable quantities of NPS (nutrients: nitrogen {N} and phosphorus {P}), and/or sediment), and highlight the negative outcomes (symptoms) of impaired water quality. These response indicators belatedly address water quality issues, if the cause is impaired riparian functions. Riparian functions assist in decreasing the impacts of droughts and floods (through sequestration of nutrients and excess sediment), allow water to remain on the land surface, improve aquatic habitats, improve water quality, and provide a focus for monitoring and adaptive management. To manage water quality, the focus must be on the drivers (leading indicators) of the causative mechanisms, such as loss of ecological functions. Success in NPS pollution control, and maintaining healthy aquatic habitats, often depends on land management/land use approaches, which facilitate the natural recovery of stream and wetland riparian functions. Focusing on the drivers of ecosystem functions (e.g., vegetation, hydrology, soil, and landform), instead of individual mandated response indicators, using the proper functioning condition (PFC) approach, as a best management practice (BMP), in conjunction with other tools and management strategies, can lead to pro-active policies and approaches, which support positive change in an ecosystem or watershed, and in water quality improvement.

Keywords: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ); best management practice (BMP); cyanobacteria; ecological function; ecosystems; harmful cyanobacterial bloom (CyanoHAB); non-point source (NPS); point source (PS); proper functioning condition (PFC); total maximum daily load (TMDL).

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ)’s number of harmful cyanobacterial blooms (CyanoHAB) waterbody advisories (line), and number of cumulative days per year (bars) under an advisory. (Available online: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/HarmfulAlgaeBlooms/Pages/index.aspx; accessed: 28 May 2019). Note: There were no CyanoHAB advisory days in Oregon for 2004.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Map of the Lemolo Lake, Diamond Lake, and the Tenmile Lakes study areas. The larger image is a Landsat image from 15 July 2014. The inset image is from Google Earth.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) black and white, and color aerial images, of the Lemolo Lake area, Oregon. Images were taken: (A) 3 July 1994 (black and white), and (B) 6 July 2014 (color). Bright patches in image A indicate areas of clear cutting. The red boundary in image B is an area currently being thinned. Source: Images obtained from Google Earth.
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Satellite image of Diamond Lake, Oregon. Image taken 6 July 2014. Source: Image obtained from Google Earth.
Figure 5.
Figure 5.
USDA color aerial images of Lemolo Lake, Oregon. Images were taken: (A) 11 August 2012 and, (B) July 2014. Bright green areas within Lemolo Lake (image B) indicates an extensive cyanobacterial bloom occurring at the time the image was taken. Source: Images obtained from Google Earth.
Figure 6.
Figure 6.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (ODEQ) harmful cyanobacterial bloom (CyanoHAB) advisories for Lemolo Lake, and the number of days under an advisory. Current (post-2014) data has not been posted on the website: (Available online: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/HealthyEnvironments/Recreation/HarmfulAlgaeBlooms/Pages/index.aspx; accessed on 28 May 2019). Note: There were no CyanoHAB advisory days for Lemolo Lake in 2004, 2005, 2013, and 2014.
Figure 7.
Figure 7.
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (ODEQ) harmful cyanobacterial bloom (CyanoHAB) advisories for Tenmile Lakes and the number of days under an advisory. Note: There were no CyanoHAB advisory days for Tenmile Lakes in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012.
Figure 8.
Figure 8.
US Geological Survey aerial images of Tenmile Lake, Templeton Arm, and Roberts Creek. (A): The May 1994, black and white aerial image shows the Roberts Creek channel is incised, and the delta is expanding. (B): The August 2000, black and white aerial image shows the Roberts Creek channel has expanded (Note: the white area indicates stream bank slumping), and the delta has extended into the lake approximately 30 m farther than the May 1994 image. It also shows increased clear cuts on the slopes in three areas north of (above) the lake. Source: Images obtained from Google Earth. Note: Red arrows show the extent of delta growth.
Figure 9.
Figure 9.
US Geological Survey color aerial images of Tenmile Lake, Templeton Arm, and Roberts Creek. (C): The August 2007, aerial image shows the Roberts Creek channel is incised, and the delta is expanding. (D): The July 2012, aerial image shows the Roberts Creek channel is unchanged, and the delta has been reduced by approximately 10 m from the August 2007 image. The August 2007 image also shows increased clear cuts on the slopes in three areas south of (below) the lake. Source: Images obtained from Google Earth. Note: Red arrows show the extent of delta growth.
Figure 10.
Figure 10.
(A): August 2005 color image of the middle Roberts Creek watershed. Image shows that channel incision has migrated up into the sub-watersheds. The stream riparian area shown on the ranchland was prior to implementation of the management plan. The sub-watershed is dominated by woody plants. (B): USDA July 2012 color image after implementation of a natural resources management plan (fencing) for the riparian area. Some woody material has been removed. Source: State of Oregon, DigitalGlobe (2015).

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