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Publication Abstract

Effect of Agriculture on Cedar Lake Water Quality Roseboom, Donald P., Ralph L. Evans, and Thomas E. Hill, 1979  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS C-138    Full Text Available

This study was made to delineate the type, distribution, and magnitude of orchard-related pesticides in the aquatic environment of Cedar Lake which includes the older impoundments of Little Cedar Lake and the Alto Pass Reservoir. Cedar Lake is a source of water supply for Carbondale, Illinois. The study included analyses for mineral and pesticide content of the soils, the water and bottom muds of the three lakes, and the water and sediments of the four major tributaries. In addition, the general limnology and biological characteristics of Cedar Lake were defined, sedimentation surveys of the two older lakes were performed, and relevant data regarding pesticide content in fish were evaluated.

The results show that application of pesticides in well-sodded orchards does not pose a serious threat to the water quality of Cedar Lake, but a threat does exist when such orchard lands are converted to row crops, subdivisions, or other uses that destroy the sod cover that minimizes soil erosion. Pesticide residues that make their way by soil movement to the aquatic environment do accumulate in the bottom muds of the lakes, and may become solubilized and thus transferred to the lake waters.

The waters of Cedar Lake stratify in summer resulting in depletion of dissolved oxygen in the lower 15 feet of water. Lake management to minimize such oxygen depletion is needed to control taste and odors and the introduction of undesirable metals in the water supply. The sedimentation surveys showed that soil loss on the watershed is excessive and that soil erosion prevention procedures are needed.

The desirable game fish in the lakes contain mercury concentrations in excess of FDA tolerance limits despite the fact that mercury in excess of background levels was not found in the soils, suspended sediment, nor lake bottom sediments in the watershed. Research as to possible effects of inundated vegetation on the transfer of mercury from water to fish is suggested. DDT and dieldrin in fish are not a cause for concern in the Cedar Lake watershed.

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