SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation announces the results from the first year of their landmark Wawasee Inlets Nutrient Study. This study is the first of its kind for the Wawasee Watershed and the data from the three year scientific effort will yield a comprehensive analysis of nutrient and sediment loads. The WACF is working in partnership with Ecosystems Connections Institute.
The first year of the WINS successfully generated a scientific set data that describes how much nutrients and sediment entered the lake. ECI analyzed 18,359 individual data points, correlated data to rainfall and stream flow, ran multiple complex statistical analyses, generated graphs, and summarized the findings. In total, it is a 186-page document packed with robust data and explanations.
The wide-ranging study was designed by WACF under the direction of Dr. Jerry Sweeten, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Studies at Manchester University and Senior Research Scientist with ECI. “Even though it will take the full three years to properly assess the state of our watershed, we are excited about the early findings,” stated Beth Morris, WACF board ecology chair. “Our ecology committee will be working hard to fully analyze this report and provide key insights to guide our restoration and remediation efforts moving forward.”
WINS has already revealed a key scientific baseline for the watershed: it takes 2.2 years to totally replace the water in Lake Wawasee (lake water retention time). The study also identified that in one year, just under one-half of the lake water is replaced (water replacement rate). Understanding the amount of water coming into the lake, as well as how long it takes to replace all of the lake water, will help WACF understand the chronic effect of nutrients and sediment entering the lake. In turn WACF leadership will be able to identify the best course of action to proactively manage these risks and to build productive conservation partnerships.
And this is just the beginning. “Our team was thrilled to identify a scientifically accurate retention time and replacement rate, and we are even more excited about what will be uncovered in years two and three,” shared Dr. Sweeten. “These data points, along with continued scientific analysis, place WACF in the best possible position to positively impact the watershed for generations to come.”
The testing started in the spring of 2019 and will continue for two more years. To learn more about this landmark study, visit http://wacf.com/water-quality/inlets-nutrient-study/.