Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract We used paleolimnological methods to investigate spatial and temporal patterns of bulk sediment and nutrient (C, N, P) accumulation in Lakes Hell ‘n’ Blazes (A = 154 ha, zmax = 240 cm), Sawgrass (A = 195 ha, zmax = 157 cm) and Washington (A = 1766 ha, zmax = 322 cm), in the Upper St. Johns River Basin, Florida. The study was designed to evaluate long-term changes in sedimentation and nutrient storage in the basin, and was one component of a larger project addressing flood control, wetland restoration, and water quality improvement. These three study lakes are wide, shallow waterbodies in the upper reaches of the St. Johns River channel. Sediment mapping indicates soft, organic deposits are distributed uniformly throughout Lakes Hell ‘n’ Blazes and Sawgrass. In contrast, much of Lake Washington is characterized by sandy bottom, and organic sediment is largely restricted to the north end of the lake. Lakes Hell ‘n’ Blazes and Sawgrass are effective sediment traps because dense submersed macrophytes and their associated epiphytes reduce flow velocity, intercept suspended particles, and utilize dissolved nutrients. Abundant Hydrilla, combined with short fetch, prevents resuspension and downstream transport of sediments. Larger Lake Washington is probably wind-mixed and resuspended organic sediments are redeposited to downstream sites. 210Pb-dated sediment cores show that organic sediment accumulation began in all three lakes before 1900, but that bulk sediment and nutrient accumulation rates have generally increased since then. The increases are probably attributable, in part, to anthropogenic activities including 1) hydrologic modifications that reduced flow rates in the channel, 2) discharge of nutrient-rich waters from urban, agricultural and ranching areas, and, 3) introduction and periodic herbicide treatment of the exotic macrophytes Eichhornia and Hydrilla.
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