National Park Service

Klamath Network (KLMN)

Parks in this Network

KLMN Network Map
Click to see Larger
Network Map
Find your park logo

Lake Water Quality & Aquatic Community Monitoring

Lake habitat monitoring at Lassen Volcanic NP
Lake habitat monitoring at Lassen Volcanic NP

2008 Mountain Lakes and Ponds Pilot Project Brief

Monitoring Reports

Monitoring Protocol & Sampling Procedures

For more information contact: Eric Dinger

Importance and Issues

The NPS recognizes that aquatic resources are some of the most critical and biologically productive resources in the national park system" and that they "are vulnerable to degradation from activities both within and external to parks" (NPS 2000). The ponds and lakes present in Crater Lake National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park are integral components of the Klamath Network landscape.

In general, these ecosystems are complex adapting systems with characteristics that are influenced by local as well as regional environmental conditions (Larson et al. 1994, 1999; Allan and Johnson 1997). Therefore, lakes can be useful indicators of impacts or changes due to various types of environmental perturbation across the landscape, including near-field impacts such as visitor use and far-field impacts such as atmospheric deposition of pollutants and nutrients originating from agricultural activities and climate change (Stow et al. 1998, Vinebrooke and Leavitt 2005).

The Klamath Network vital sign selection process resulted in the identification of two aquatic resource vital signs for monitoring: Aquatic Communities and Water Quality (Sarr et al. 2007). Prioritization of these vital signs was driven by potential natural and anthropogenic stressors on water resources (including physical, chemical, and biological characteristics) of freshwater habitats. Identified stressors of aquatic resources included:

  1. Climate change
  2. Atmospheric deposition of pollutants and nutrients
  3. Introduced and invasive species
  4. Recreational visitor use
  5. Land use, including park maintenance activities

Because aquatic communities and water quality are intrinsically related, these vital signs have been integrated into a single protocol.

Parks Monitored

  • Crater Lake National Park (CLRA)
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park (LAVO)
  • Redwood National & State Parks (REDW)

Monitoring Objectives

  1. Characterize the environmental and aquatic communities in a probabilistic sample of mountain lakes and determine status and trends in key univariate and multivariate variables.
  2. Develop indices and predictive models of ecological condition that integrate different aspects of the biological community to give robust estimates of ecological condition.
  3. Use sampled parameters to determine trophic condition of lakes using Carlson's Trophic State Index.
  4. Determine how measures vary as a whole or independently to understand how various aspects of lentic communities are related.

⇑ To Top of Page

Parameters to be Measured

Water Chemistry Parameters Include

  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Specific Conductance
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Water Level
  • Turbidity
  • Acid Neutralizing Capacity
  • Anions/Cations
  • Dissolved Organic Carbon
  • Nutrients
  • Oxidation / Reduction Potential

Lake Environment Parameters Include

  • Percent Substrate Type
  • Lake Area
  • Shoreline Development
  • Water Clarity

Aquatic Community Parameters Include

  • Chlorophyll a
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrates
  • Fish
  • Amphibians

⇑ To Top of Page

Last Updated: August 14, 2017 Contact Webmaster