[2020 AR] Nutrients Depth Profile

2020 Report

Nutrient Depth Profiles


In WY 2020, higher concentrations of phosphorus were observed throughout the summer months and at all depths in the water column. In addition nitrogen, specifically, the bioavailable forms (nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia) became the limiting nutrients for much of the year. Nitrogen limited conditions give cyanobacteria a competitive advantage since they can fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Total phosphorus (TP) concentrations generally increased with depth. TP concentrations were elevated in the hypolimnion (lower layer of water in a stratified lake) from early spring through summer. Phosphorus increases in the hypolimnion can be caused by internal loading or result from the decomposition of algal cells and other organic matter settling from higher levels in the water column. Inflows of cold runoff water, which have a higher density than warmer, surface waters and sink to the bottom as they enter a lake, can also directly increase hypolimnetic nutrient concentrations, especially in Reservoirs.

During WY 2020, TP concentrations ranged between 62 and 155ug/L with an annual mean of 97ug/L. The seasonal TP mean (July- Sept) was 128.2ug/L which is higher than the long-term average (1992-present) of 95.4ug/L. From late June through mid-August, significantly elevated TP concentrations were seen at the bottom of the Reservoir.

TP is made up of both particulate and dissolved phosphorus. Particulate phosphorus includes both inorganic material, such as soil particles and clay minerals, and organic phosphorus, which includes particulate forms such as algal cells and plant fragments. Total dissolved phosphorus includes dissolved organic and inorganic material. Dissolved inorganic phosphorus is usually reported as soluble reactive phosphorus, which represents the bioavailable form of phosphorus. The reactive or bioavailable forms of nutrients are readily available for uptake by algae or cyanobacteria.

During WY 2020, TN concentrations ranged between 610 and 1670ug/L with an annual mean of 895ug/L. The seasonal TN mean (July- Sept) was 999.2ug/L which is higher than the long-term average (1992-present) of 897.7ug/L.

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Depth profile graphic

Nutrient Depth Profiles

info_outlineEach square on this depth profile represents a sampling event. The different square colors represent the magnitude of the the value for the a sampling event. To learn more about a specific data point, hover over a square with your mouse.

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