The water quality implications of artificially fertilizing a large desert reservoir for fisheries enhancement

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Multiple use management of aquatic systems frequently involves conflicting demands from the various user groups. A 4-year program designed to evaluate large-scale artificial fertilization as a potential management tool for enhancing the forage and game fish populations of Lake Mead, a large Colorado River reservoir, generated considerable attention from both on-lake and downstream water users. An extensive water-quality monitoring program, undertaken as part of the fertilization experiment, demonstrated that the nutrient additions did not produce significant negative impacts on Lake Mead water quality from either a public health (that is, drinking water) or environmental perspective. One set of parameters, for example, hypolimnetic oxygen depletion and the relative abundance of blue-green algae, exhibited no consistent response to the fertilizer. A second group of parameters did respond to fertilizer addition, but changes were both moderate and relatively short-term. Examples in this group include chlorophyll, threshold odor number, and trihalomethane formation potentials.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 1995

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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