09 April 2016 BDN: What an early spring means for Maine’s lakes


Clary Ice Out

You’ll recall that the ice went out on Clary Lake on March 13th this year, the earliest since we started keeping records in 2001. Well there’s a great article in today’s Bangor Daily News about the potential impact of an early spring on lake water quality. Basically, warmer than usual weather coupled with an early ice-out result in water temperatures rising higher, sooner, and lake stratification taking place sooner as a result. Stratification is the process whereby the water in the lake separates into a warm, generally oxygen-rich upper layer and a colder, generally oxygen-deprived lower layer. You’ve all experienced lake water stratification when you jumped into nice warm water only to discover that 4′-5′ down the water is a whole lot colder. One impact of oxygen deficiency in a lake is the release phosphorus from bottom sediments which leads to algae growth. The article is short and informative and worth a read:

BDN: What an early spring means for Maine’s lakes

The excessively low water conditions we’ve been experiencing on Clary Lake for the last 5 years or so have also had a severe impact on water quality, compounding the effect of the normal seasonal lake water cycles, resulting in more, and more severe, algae blooms. This is in part due to severely diminished lake volume, loss of wetland habitat, and erosion and sedimentation of bottom sediments around the edges of the lake that normally would be covered by a protective 4′-5′ of water.

The CLA will be starting it’s water quality monitoring activities next week. There is water quality data for Clary Lake going back to 1975 (available by request). You can view the water quality data back to April 2012 online on our Clary Lake Water Monitoring data page.