Water quality and productivity changes associated with the liming of a soft water lake

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Sherwood Lake, a 165 acre public fishing impoundment in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, was treated with calcium carbonate for four years. The limestone treatment was done by revolving limestone drums installed above the lake on Meadow Creek. The limestone drum provided continuous treatment throughout the period. Limnological conditions of Meadow Creek and Sherwood Lake were monitored throughout the treatment period. Physicochemical and plankton data were collected monthly and the fish population sampled annually.

The water quality of Sherwood Lake improved gradually during treatment, however, by the end of 1968 the lake could only be classified as a soft water lake.

The growth of Elodea was encouraged by the addition of limestone. A lack of available nutrients and decreased productivity at higher trophic levels was attributed to the dense growths of Elodea. The mean annual volume of plankton decreased during lime treatment, however, this decrease was attributed to the usurping of available nutrients by higher aquatic plants. Low concentrations of available phosphorus was considered to be the major chemical factor limiting biological production.

No significant growth increments were evident for any species of fish of any age that could be attributed directly to the limestone treatment of Sherwood Lake.

An increase in the standing crop of fish was noted but could not be ascribed entirely to the addition of limestone.