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Monday, September 28, 2009

One Wet Eco-Cruise!

Sept. 27 - We commend you hearty souls who joined us for a damp cruise on the lake! After half an inch of rain, this was a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at how various parts of the south shelf of Cayuga are impacted by a moderate storm. We stopped at six locations, starting at the inlet, working our way up the east shore with dominant flow of water, and returning along the west side.

Clarity in the inlet, of course was quite low, running just over 1 Meter. As we cruised east past Stewart Park and up the east shore, clarity slowly increased to about 5 meters at the edge of the shelf, where Rt. 34B moves away from the Lake. Water temperatures decreased from 17.5 C (63.5 F) in the inlet to about 15.0 C off of Willow Point, as inflowing runoff mixed with slightly colder water in the lake. Acidity (pH of 8-8.2) remained constant, and dissolved oxygen levels appeared to decrease significantly as we approached the East Shore.

The most interesting story was to be found as we moved out of the main flow, toward the sheltered west shore of the lake. Water temperatures and pH levels fell noticeably, suggesting the upwelling of cold, clear water from deep areas of the lake. Secchi clarity on the east shore approached 6 meters, and a temperature of 12.2C (about 54 F) was recorded. We haven't seen water this cold near the surface since early spring, but a quick glance at Cornell's RUSS station confirms that cold waters are somehow being pushed to the surface near the edge of Cayuga's south shelf. Fall has come to Cayuga Lake.

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