Water Quality Committee 2011 Report
During 2010, the water quality group of John Anderson and Russ Sanderson tested the water for clarity, took temperatures from the surface to bottom, and collected water samples to be tested for chlorophyll and phosphorus. These water samples are processed here and sent to Madison for the analysis.
This work was done off the north end of the big sand bar between Dillmans and Camp Wipigaki. We have a schedule of when the satellites fly over to take pictures and, if possible, co ordinate our clarity readings with that schedule. Clarity is not a chemical property of the lake water, rather an indicator or measure of water quality related to the chemical and physical properties. White Sand Lake is among the clearest lakes in the state. This confirmed by our own Secchi disc readings of over 18 feet and satellite information.
The concern is excessive phosphorus and chlorophyll (algae) levels. We are fine, but it is important to ensure that phosphorous from failing septic systems, detergents and run off from fertilized lawns and gardens do not enter the lake.
John and I welcome anyone to join us on our sampling adventures. In fact, more clarity readings are better, therefore, if interested please call 715-588-7389.
Respectfully submitted by Russ Sanderson
Water Quality Committee 2010 Report
During the 2010 season, John Anderson and Russ Sanderson will again do the water quality samples in co-operation with the Wisconsin DNR. Clarity, temperature and water samples are taken in the deep hole off the north end of the sand bar between Dillman’s and Camp Wipigaki.
The water samples are obtained, processed and sent to Madison to be tested for chlorophyll and phosphorous. We are low in both categories which is a reason our lake is clear and blue without a lot of algae. Phosphorous is a nutrient that influences plant growth. High levels lead to excesses of weeds and algae. The use of fertilizers and manure that run off into the lake including faulty septic systems are sources of phosphorous.
On a separate note, if you thought the water temperature last summer felt cooler compared to other years, you were correct. Surface water temperatures by mid July have been over 70°F most years and July 16, 2006 it was 75°F+. However, the surface temperature July 19, 2009 of 65.7°F was cooler than the temperature taken June 17, 2009 at 66.2°F. (The reading at 1 foot and 5 feet were averaged to arrive at surface temperature.) Visit http://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/clmn/ for detail information regarding White Sand and other Wisconsin lakes. Respectfully submitted by Russ Sanderson
Respectfully submitted by Russ Sanderson
Water Quality Committee 2009 Report
During the 2009 season, John Anderson and Russ Sanderson will again do the water quality samples in cooperation with the Wisconsin DNR. Clarity and water temperature readings will be done about two times per month and water samples once per month. Water temperature is taken at the surface and at five-foot intervals to the bottom. It is particularly interesting to see how the location of the thermo cline changes and how the temperature evens out when the lake turns over in the fall. This happens when the cooler, denser surface water starts to sink and the now, warmer less dense, bottom water starts rising. You can visually tell when this happens because the lake is not very clear at that point. The water samples are taken, processed and sent to Madison to be tested for chlorophyll and phosphorous. We are low in both categories, which is a reason our lake is clear and blue without a lot of algae. Phosphorous is a pollutant and is found in fertilizers.
Guests are welcome on our sampling adventures. Call Russ at 715-588-7389. Visit dnr.wi.gov/lakes/clmn/ for detail information regarding White Sand and other lakes.
Respectfully submitted by Russ Sanderson
Water Quality 2006 Report
During 2006, the water quality group of John Anderson, Phil Powell, and Russ Sanderson tested the water for clarity eight times, took temperatures from the surface to bottom six times, collected water samples for chlorophyll and phosphorus four times.
This work was done off the north end of the big sand bar between Dillman’s and Camp Wipigaki. White Sand Lake is among the clearest lakes in the state. This is confirmed by our own Secchi disc readings of over 18 feet and satellite information.
The temperature readings were very interesting. We took temperatures every five feet down to the bottom (about 55 feet). The water cooled approximately one degree for each five feet in depth down to the thermocline. At that point the temperature dropped seven to nine degrees in that five foot segment then continued again at about one degree per five feet down to the bottom. The location of the thermocline was between twenty five and thirty below the surface. For our own purpose, several times we took readings to pin point the exact location of where the thermocline was located by getting temperatures every foot.
Until the end of August, the temperatures were above 70 degrees down to the theremocline, and then dropped into the 60’s on down to 50 degrees at the bottom. However, the lake was turning over at our September 26, 2006 reading when temperatures were 59 degrees from surface down to 40 feet. The bottom 15 feet was 51-52 degrees. Then at our October 16 reading it was 48 degrees from surface to bottom and did not vary more than two tenths and that was the very bottom.
At this point, chlorophyll (algae) and phosphorus stats are of more interest to the chemists. However, we know that phosphorus is not good and comes from soaps, detergents, and fertilizers to name a few. Our lower chlorophyll and phosphorus are reasons why White Sand is clear and clean.
Lets all work together to keep it this way.
– Submitted by Russ Sanderson, June 2007
Water Quality 2005 Report
The topic of water quality is something close to the top of the list of those things that make White Sand Lake a very special place to all of us. We know this lake is one of the clearest and cleanest in the state.
Our goal as owners along with the DNR, tribe, Vilas County, and members of the White Sand Lake Association (WSLA) is to keep it that way.
One of the WSLA committees is “water quality”. At this time it consists of Russ Sanderson, Phil Powell, and John Anderson. Our task, as volunteers, has been to monitor the lake clarity. We began in July and took readings every week or two throughout the summer. In 2006 we will begin earlier and end later.
The procedure consists of using a Secchi disc with readings taken at the "deep hole" toward the northeast portion of the lake. The Secchi disc is an 8 inch black and white disc that is lowered into the water on a marked rope until it no longer can be seen. The disc is then raised until it can be seen again and the average recorded. Measuring the water clarity has been described as "taking a pulse" as an indicator of the lake’s health and is a crucial record for long range planning. The readings vary depending on the conditions i.e. sun, wind, algae bloom. Current and historical readings have been around the 20-foot mark. We found data going back to the mid 1990's and little has changed. We know that more data needs to be accumulated and collected over longer periods to be meaningful.
White Sand Lake is classified as a “drainage” lake. This means, streams, groundwater, precipitation and runoff provide incoming water. Outgoing water leaves via a stream. Big Crooked and Ike Walton lakes are hydrologically up stream. The stream that drains White Sand into Pokegama is known as Hutton’s creek. The trophic state of the lake is “oligotrophic” meaning low nutrients, low productivity, little planktonic algae and low phosphorus with a neutral pH. This is why our water is clear and it provides the environment for a fishery of large game fish.
It is also known that White Sand and others in the area have mercury concentrations in fish tissue that is above EPA’s human health risk criteria for consumption of fish. Mercury in the fish comes from atmospheric deposition originating mainly from coal-fired power plants. The EPA warning states an individual should not eat fish larger than 20 inches more than once per month or fish 5-20" more than twice per month.
What is next for the water quality committee? This summer, we will take the next step of data collection. In May, John, Phil and I will be trained to do chemical testing of the water. It is my understanding that we will collect phosphorus and chlorophyll samples at various times throughout the summer. In addition, pH, temperature and dissolved oxygen may also be part of it. We will find out more in May. The phosphorus levels are important for the growth of plant life. Excess amounts can cause algae to "bloom", making the lake look like pea soup in extreme cases. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives plants their color. Collecting water samples will indicated how much algae is in the lake.
What can we, as individuals, do to preserve the water quality? For now, be aware that such things as lawn fertilizer, building site run off, detergents and faulty septic systems can contribute to excess phosphorus. We will learn more as time goes on and want to work with all sources that can help keep the lake in great shape. That includes other lake associations, state, DNR, Vilas County , town of Lac du Flambeau and the Tribe.
Submitted by Russ Sanderson, June 2006
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