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Crockery Lake Sediment Nutrient Evaluation

By Restorative Lake Sciences, Dr. Jennifer Jermalowicz-Jones

Please take some time to read this nutrient study on our lake. We are trying to be good stewards of Crockery Lake and will be partnering with Dr. Jones for testing to determine what remediation will work best. She will guide us through the appropriate testing needed to procure the necessary permits from EGLE for treatment. She will also work with the companies who offer the needed treatment and then bring options to the CLA Board. After this first year of needed testing, we hope to contract with her to do the testing throughout the entire treatment process. The evaluation report is the first of 4 lake tests that need to be done. If you have any questions please call your board representative or email crockerylakeassociation@gmail.com




Crockery Lake Sediment Nutrient Evaluation Crockery Lake, Ottawa County, Michigan


Provided for: Crockery Lake Association (CLA) Board

Prepared by: Restorative Lake Sciences

Jennifer L. Jermalowicz-Jones, PhD, CLP

Water Resources Director

18406 West Spring Lake Road

Spring Lake, Michigan 49456

www.restorativelakesciences.com

Note: All information in this report is ©Restorative Lake Sciences, 2023


Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 6

CROCKERY LAKE SEDIMENT NUTRIENT EVALUATION, OTTAWA COUNTY, MICHIGAN

October, 2023

1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Crockery Lake is located in Chester Township (T. 9N, R.13W) Ottawa County, Michigan, and is a natural glacial lake. The lake surface area is comprised of 111 acres (RLS, 2022). The lake outlet is located at the southwest end of the lake and drains into Crockery Creek. The maximum depth of the lake is approximately 54 feet. The lake shoreline is approximately 2.54 miles. The fetch (longest distance across the lake) is approximately 1.0 mile. Crockery Lake has elevated nutrient concentrations with very high total phosphorus (TP) measured near the bottom which could indicate internal loading that leads to increased weed and algae growth due to the anoxic (very low dissolved oxygen) concentrations also measured at the lake bottom.

The sediments of certain areas of the lake are very thick, highly reduced and anoxic, and compromise the health of the Crockery Lake ecosystem as a result of these undesirable characteristics. Prior studies have not adequately addressed the sediment nutrients and composition throughout the lake. Excess “muck” created from a combination of internal decomposition and external inputs are largely confined to the lake basin and have led to accumulation of sediments which have resulted in the release of phosphorus under low oxygen conditions.

On September 29, 2023, ten sediment samples were collected throughout the lake and analyzed for sediment organic matter (carbon) content and nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Organic matter percentage ranged from 0.6-22.0% which indicated high variability of organic matter in lake sediments and a higher proportion of inorganic carbon that cannot be broken down (i.e., silt, marl, sands, etc.). All of the nitrogen in Crockery Lake sediments is in the ammonia form, which can be toxic to aquatic biota in high concentrations. This form will dominate in sediments with low oxygen. Due to the unconsolidated nature of these sediments and the depths, dredging would not be recommended due to the fluid nature of the sediments and the possible presence of metals which would require specialized land fill disposal, and high cost. As a result, it is recommended that an aeration system and bioaugmentation (aerobic bacteria) be implemented to biodegrade the thick sediments in the lake and reduce nutrients in the lake.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 7

Although it is difficult to measure the current sediment depths throughout the lake basin due to the extensive thickness, the efficacy of an aeration program can be evaluated with time through the re measurement of sediment nutrients and corresponding water column nutrients. Such improvements should be conducted along with immediate watershed (drain) mitigation methods and a proper septic system maintenance program for the lake populace for optimum results.

2.0 LAKE SEDIMENT BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Lake sediments are the primary site for biogeochemical processes in inland lakes. The sediments sequester macro and micro nutrients that are responsible for lake metabolism, which governs all lake biological and chemical processes. Sediments can sequester too many nutrients, however, which can contribute significantly to internal loading that results in hyper-eutrophication.

2.1 Introductory Concepts

The following terms are provided for a more thorough understanding of the forthcoming lake management recommendations for sediment reductions within Crockery Lake. A basic knowledge of sedimentary processes is necessary to understand the complexities involved and how management techniques are applicable to the current condition of Crockery Lake. Although laboratory analyses are used to determine the composition and nutrient profiles in the lake sediment, it must be realized that sediments also change with time due to dynamic wind and lake energy processes which re-distribute sediments among the entire lake basin. The origin of the sediments throughout Crockery Lake cannot be determined as a single source, but rather a result of inputs from multiple areas around the lake. Some of the sediments currently present in the lake likely originated from incoming drains that contain highly organic soils as well as local wetlands.

2.1.1 Lake Sediment Composition and Biogeochemistry

Lake sediments originate from external (allochthonus) and internal (autochthonous) sources within a lake system. External sources include materials such as pollen, terrestrial vegetation inputs, and erosional matter that enter the lake from the drainage basin (immediate watershed) and metals and particulates from the atmosphere. The majority of those substances settle at the lake bottom, but may be resuspended during high energy events which may lead to re-distribution of the sediments. Internal sources of sediment are produced from the decay of organic materials such as aquatic vegetation, phytoplankton (algae), zooplankton, and other higher organisms. Lake sediments usually contain a bulk density (mineral) component which consists of little organic matter and originates from the lake drainage basin.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 8

The less consolidated or flocculent component of sediment is derived from internal sources and is generally much higher in organic matter content than external sources. However, some external inputs from wetlands or marshes can also be high in organic matter content. In general, coarse sediments tend to accumulate near shoreline areas and finer silts deposit at the deeper basin(s). This is evidenced by the presence of sands along some portions of the shoreline around Crockery Lake. In lake systems with an abundant microbial community, the organic fraction is usually degraded as an energy source for the microbes, resulting in a reduction in the organic matter content of lake sediments.

Unfortunately, the sediments in the deep basin and in other offshore areas are anoxic (lacking in oxygen) and the essential conversion of ammonia to a less usable nitrogen form (such as nitrate) cannot easily occur. The imminent accumulation of ammonia then results in toxicity to aquatic organisms (Camargo et al., 2005; Beutel, 2006) over time. Beutel (2006) found that ammonia release rates in anoxic sediment were >15 mg N m-2 day-1, but were nearly absent in oxic (high oxygen) conditions. The majority of rooted aquatic plants are able to oxidize the rhizosphere and overcome anoxic conditions as a method of compromised growth (Bodelier et al., 1996). Additionally, the low oxygen levels at the sediment allow release of phosphorus into the water column and reduce the oxidation-reduction potential which results in the formation of black hydrogen sulfide (H2S) sediments. A study conducted by Ramco in 1993, utilized a Biological Activity Reaction Test (BART) to determine the degree of activity by various bacteria such as Iron and Sulfate metabolism microbes, slime-forming bacteria, fluorescing pseudomonads, cyanobacteria, and total aerobes. The result of their study indicated that the numbers of aggressive aerobic bacteria increased with an increase in aeration relative to the non-aerated control region. The BART test indicated higher activity of sulfate-reducing bacteria, slime-forming bacteria, Iron-related bacteria, fluorescing pseudomonads, and total aerobes in the barge and tube-aerated sites than in the control (non-aerated) site. Such data suggests a strong synergy between bioaugmentation and aeration which may be adequately utilized to decompose organic matter in the sediments. Phosphorus cycling occurs between the sediments and overlying water and is significantly influenced by wind action and resuspension of particulate matter in lakes (Krogerus and Ekholm, 2003). The lake water is high in phosphorus and sediment pore water is usually significantly higher. Thus, under anoxic conditions, release of phosphorus from lake sediments contributes to internal nutrient loading and can cause sporadic algal blooms and declines in water quality. Phosphorus enters a lake system from the immediate watershed and from smaller particulate contributions from the atmosphere. Sediments are usually sampled with a coring device or a hand-held Ekman dredge (Figure 1).

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 9

Figure 1. An Ekman hand-dredge sampler used to sample sediments throughout Crockery Lake.

2.1.2 Lake Sediment Functions in Crockery Lake

The majority of inland lake sediment originates from glacial material that was deposited in lake basins nearly 8,000 years ago (Straw et al., 1978). Lake sediments may function as a rooting medium and source of nutrients for rooted aquatic vegetation. In addition, lake sediments are active components of the biogeochemical cycles present in aquatic ecosystems in that they recycle nutrients and organic matter via microbial metabolism. Odum (1971) showed that lake bottom sediments regulated the metabolism of aquatic ecosystems. In general, lake sediments with coarse particle size are associated with higher water clarity, while those with smaller particle size such as silts and clays are usually correlated with increased turbidity, and this may contribute to reduced water clarity in Crockery Lake. Sediments with large particle size may inhibit rooted aquatic plant growth through mechanical impedance, whereas sediments with smaller particle sizes tend to favor rooted vegetation growth unless those sediments are highly flocculent and rooting is not possible. Sediments may also function with rooted aquatic vegetation as receivers of oxygen supplied by the plant roots. A study by Bodelier et al. (1996) determined that the emergent macrophyte, Glyceria maxima utilized root aerenchymatous tissue to oxidize an anoxic portion of the lake sediment which encourages ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 10

In general, sediments in lake systems are highly heterogeneous having been derived from glacial and anthropogenic (man-induced) activities over time. Lake circulation patterns ultimately dictate the distribution of sediments in an aquatic ecosystem. Coarse sediment particles tend to appear near shore, whereas finer particles settle out in the deeper basins of a lake. Sediments may also be utilized as a large source of siliceous diatoms and other macro biota which forms the base of the food chain for higher organisms that feed on benthic biota. The majority of lake sediments offshore in Crockery Lake support submersed rooted aquatic vegetation growth, whereas the coarser sediments support lily pad tubers and other emergent growth forms near shore.

2.1.3 Lake Sediments Impairments in Crockery Lake

Over-accumulation of aquatic vegetation and algal biomass can undergo decomposition on the lake bottom but in the absence of adequate dissolved oxygen may not adequately decompose, contributing to internal loading of nutrients. Most of the external sources of sediment are derived from the immediate watershed around Crockery Lake.

A watershed may be defined as an area of land that drains to a common point and is influenced by both surface water and groundwater resources that are often impacted from land use activities. In general, a large watershed of a particular lake possesses more opportunities for pollutants to enter the system and alter water quality and ecological communities. In addition, watersheds that contain abundant development and agricultural sites (such as Crockery Lake) are more vulnerable to water quality degradation since the fate of pollutant transport may be increased and negatively affect surface waters and groundwater. Land use activities have a dramatic impact on the quality of surface waters and groundwater. Engstrom and Wright (2002) cite the significant reduction in sediment flux of one non-aerated lake which was attributed to substantial reduction of sediment loading from the surrounding catchment. The topography of the land and the morphometry of the lake dictate the ultimate fate transport of pollutants and nutrients into the lake within a particular watershed. Steep slopes on the land surrounding a lake may cause surface runoff to enter the lake more readily than if the land surface was at grade relative to the lake. In addition, lakes with a steep drop-off may act as collection basins for the substances that are transported to the lake from the land. Many types of land use activities can influence the watershed of a particular lake. Such activities include residential land use, industrial land, agricultural land, water supply land, wastewater treatment land, and storm water management. All land uses may contribute to the water quality of the lake through the influx of pollutants from non-point sources or from point sources. Non-point sources are often diffuse and arise when climatic events carry pollutants from the land into the lake. Point-source pollutants exit from pipes or input devices and empty directly into a lake or watercourse.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 11

Residential land use activities involve the use of lawn fertilizers on lakefront lawns, the utilization of septic tank systems for treatment of residential sewage, the construction of impervious (impermeable, hard-surfaced) surfaces on lands within the watershed, the burning of leaves near the lakeshore, the dumping of leaves or other pollutants into storm drains, and removal of vegetation from the land and near the water. In addition to residential land use activities, agricultural practices by vegetable crop and cattle farmers may contribute nutrient loads to lakes and streams. Industrial land use activities may include possible contamination of groundwater through discharges of chemical or thermal pollution.

3.0 CROCKERY LAKE SEDIMENT DATA

A total of 10 sediment samples were collected from the bottom of the lake on September 29, 2023 and analyzed for sediment organic carbon (Table 1) and nutrients such as phosphorus and total inorganic nitrogen (Table 2). A map showing the locations of all sediment sample sites is displayed below in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Crockery Lake sediment sampling location map (September 29, 2023).

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 12

3.1 Sediment Organic Carbon:

Organic matter (OM) contains a high amount of carbon which is derived from biota such as decayed plant and animal matter. Detritus is the term for all dead organic matter which is different than living organic and inorganic matter. OM may be autochthonous or allochthonous in nature where it originates from within the system or external to the system, respectively. Sediment OM is measured with the ASTM D2974 method and is usually expressed in a percentage (%) of total bulk volume. The range of organic matter for the Crockery Lake sediments was between 0.6-22.0%, which indicates a moderate variability of organic matter for lake sediments. Sediment sample #5 was collected from the central basin which explains the deposition of higher bulk sediments in the deeper waters. These values indicate higher organic content than lakes such as White Lake (Muskegon County, Michigan) which had mean organic matter values of <0.8% (Jermalowicz-Jones, MS thesis, unpublished data) and has mostly sandy sediments; however, these values are low to moderate in organic carbon. This means that the majority of the sediments may be comprised of silt, clay, marl, or other inorganic substrates. Many factors affect the degradation of organic matter including basin size, water temperature, thermal stratification, dissolved oxygen concentrations, particle size, and quantity and type of organic matter present.

There are two major biochemical pathways for the reduction of organic matter to forms which may be purged as waste. First, the conversion of carbohydrates and lipids via hydrolysis are converted to simple sugars or fatty acids and then fermented to alcohol, CO2, or CH4. Second, proteins may be proteolyzed to amino acids, deaminated to ammonia, nitrified to nitrite or nitrate and denitrified to N2 gas.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 13

Table 1. Crockery Lake sediment organic carbon

(organic matter)data collected throughout the lake

basin on September 29, 2023.

Sample NumberSediment Organic Carbon (%)1 8.22 11.03 9.74 11.05 22.06 11.07 14.08 11.09 0.610 7.4



3.2 Sediment Nutrients:

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus may be present in local soils and lake sediments due to ongoing septic system drain field activities. Nitrogen in particular can take several decades to reach the sediment/lake interface and cause measureable changes in water quality (Jermalowicz-Jones, 2007, MS Thesis).

Total phosphorus (TP) is a measure of the amount of phosphorus (P) present in the water column or sediments. Phosphorus is the primary nutrient necessary for abundant algae and aquatic plant growth. TP concentrations are usually higher at increased depths due to the higher release rates of P from lake sediments under low oxygen (anoxic) conditions. Phosphorus may also be released from sediments as pH increases. Total phosphorus was measured in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) with the use of Method EPA 6010D.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 14

Waing and Liang (2015) note a mean sediment TP of 709.2 mg/kg in hyper-eutrophic Poyang Lake in China. The range of TP was 545-932 mg/kg. This means TP concentration is high and represents a significant quantity of phosphorus that could fuel plant and algae growth under low oxygen conditions. The mean sediment TP in the Crockery Lake sediment samples was 645 mg/kg which is similar to Poyang Lake. The range in Crockery Lake sediment TP was 87-1,100 mg/kg and thus the maximum was higher than the sediments in Poyang Lake.

The total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) consists of nitrate (NO3-), nitrite (NO2-), and ammonia (NH3) forms of nitrogen without the organic forms of nitrogen. Ammonia is the most detrimental form of nitrogen besides nitrate for the promotion of lake water quality decline. Blue-green algae fix nitrogen for a food source and if nitrogen is abundant in the water column, the algae do not have to expend extra energy and can thus put more efforts into rapid growth and colonization. Ammonia is dominant in anoxic sediments because nitrification (the oxidation of ammonia to nitrite [NO2-] and nitrate [NO3-]) is inhibited under low oxygen conditions. Ammonia generated in sediment may be toxic to benthic or surface water biota (Lapota et al. 2000). Nitrogen forms were analyzed in the lab with Method EPA 300.0 (Rev 2.1) and EPA 350.1 (Rev 2.0). All of the nitrogen in Crockery Lake sediments was in the ammonia form. Thus, there is a strong need to oxygenate the lake bottom sediments to improve water quality with time.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 15

Table 2. Crockery Lake sediment nutrient data

collected throughout the lake basin on

September 29, 2023.

Sample NumberTP (mg/kg)TIN (mg/kg)1 740 1502 550 793 780 1304 600 815 570 516 1100 2407 1000 898 880 1909 140 1110 87 18



4.0 CROCKERY LAKE SEDIMENT EVALUATION CONCLUSIONS

Improvement strategies considered for the nutrient internal loading issues in Crockery Lake include oxygenation aeration, drain mitigation, septic system nutrient reductions, and selective management of nuisance aquatic vegetation. The increased developmental pressures and usage of aquatic ecosystems necessitate inland lake management practices to restore balance within Crockery Lake. Ideally, lake management components involve within-lake (basin) and around-lake (watershed) solutions to protect and restore complex aquatic ecosystems. Drain mitigation and a lake-wide septic system maintenance program were previously recommended in the Crockery Lake improvement feasibility study report from RLS (2022). Aeration may include laminar flow or on-site oxygenation of only the hypolimnion.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 16

Inversion oxygenation (laminar flow) aeration systems are retrofitted to a particular site and account for variables such as water depth and volume, contours, water flow rates, and thickness and composition of lake sediment. The systems are designed to completely mix the surrounding waters and evenly distribute dissolved oxygen throughout the lake sediments for efficient microbial utilization. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has concerns regarding the destratification of lakes as this can have some negative impacts and requires extensive annual monitoring using a specific protocol to determine efficacy and also prove that no harm is occurring in the lake from laminar flow aeration. On-site hypolimnetic oxygenation allows for oxygen supplementation only in areas that are anoxic and does not destratify the lake water column. Laminar flow aeration would be preferred only if shallow waters also exhibited anoxic conditions.

Furthermore, bacteria are the major factor in the degradation of organic matter in sediments (Fenchel and Blackburn, 1979) so the concomitant addition of microbes to lake sediments will accelerate that process. A study by Verma and Dixit (2006) evaluated aeration systems in Lower Lake, Bhopal, India, and found that the aeration increased overall dissolved oxygen, and reduced biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and total coliform counts.

Toetz (1981) found evidence of a decline in Microcystis algae (a toxin-producing blue-green algae) in Arbuckle Lake in Oklahoma. Other studies (Weiss and Breedlove, 1973; Malueg et al., 1973) have also shown declines in overall algal biomass.

Restorative Lake Sciences

Crockery Lake Association

Sediment Evaluation Report

October, 2023

Page 17

5.0 LITERATURE CITED

Beutel, M.W. 2006. Inhibition of ammonia release from anoxic profundel sediments in lakes using hypolimnetic oxygenation. Ecological Engineering 28(3): 271-279.

Bodelier, J.A., J.A. Libochant, C. Blom, and H.J. Laanbroek. 1996. Dynamics of nitrification and denitrification in root-oxygenated sediments and adaptation of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria to low-oxygen or anoxic habitats. Applied Environmental Microbiology 62(11): 4100-4107.

Camargo, J.A., A. Alonso, and A. Salmanca. 2005. Nitrate toxicity to aquatic animals: a review with new data for freshwater invertebrates. Chemosphere, 58: 1255-1267.

Engstrom, D.R., and D.I. Wright. 2002. Sedimentological effects of aeration-induced lake circulation. Lake and Reservoir Management, 18(3):201-214.

Fenchel, T., and T.H. Blackburn. 1979. Bacteria and mineral cycling. Academic. Krogerus, K., and P. Ekholm. 2003. Phosphorus in settling matter and bottom sediments in lakes loaded by agriculture. Hydrobiologia 429: 15-28.

Lapota D, Duckworth D, Ward J (2000) Confounding Factors in Sediment Toxicology – Issue Papers 1- 19. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego CA.

Malueg, K., J. Tilstra, D. Schults, and C. Powers. Effect of induced aeration upon stratification and eutrophication processes in an Oregon farm pond. Geophysical Monograph Series, 17: 578- 587. American Geophysical Union. Washington DC.

Odum, E. 1971. Fundamentals of Ecology. W.B. Saunders Co., New York. 574 pp. Toetz, D.W., 1981. Effects of whole lake mixing on water quality and phytoplankton. Water Research, 15: 1205-1210.

Verma, N. and S. Dixit. 2006. Effectiveness of aeration units in improving water quality of Lower Lake, Bhopal, India. Asian Journal of Experimental Science, 20(1): 87-95.

Wang L, Liang T. Distribution characteristics of phosphorus in the sediments and overlying water of Poyang lake. PLoS One. 2015 May 4;10(5):e0125859. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125859. PMID: 25938758; PMCID: PMC4418821.

Weiss, C., and B. Breedlove. 1973. Water quality changes in an impoundment as a consequence of artificial destratification. 216 pp. Water Resources Research Institute. University of North Carolina. Raleigh.

Wetzel, R. G. 2001. Limnology: Lake and River Ecosystems. Third Edition. Academic Press, 1006 pgs.


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