Cyanobacterial Bloom Risk Assessment of Pontoosuc Lake

Cyanobacterial blooms can be toxic to human and animal health. The purpose of this study was to examine temperature, dissolved oxygen, zooplankton density, and nutrient level data which influence algal succession patterns and determine if Pontoosuc Lake is at risk for a cyanobacteria bloom. We expected that the lake’s biological and physical characteristics would moderately support a cyanobacterial bloom due to the heavy development around the shoreline and probable commercial and residential use of synthetic fertilizers on adjacent parcels. As such, we hypothesized that N:P ratios would be less than the threshold of 7:1, supporting the possibility of a cyanobacteria bloom. The data supported the hypothesis, showing that total nitrogen to phosphorous ratio (N:P) is 6.125:1 in the epilimnion and 14.15:1 in the hypolimnion, which is within the threshold for cyanobacterial bloom risk.

The Efficacy of BMP’s on E. coli Bacteria Levels in the Hoosic River

In 2014, a small privately-owned cattle farm on Walling Road in Adams, Massachusetts implemented several “best management practices” (BMPs) to address Escherichia coli (E. coli) contamination of the Hoosic River. Research conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) identified this parcel as a significant source of bacterial contamination. The purpose of this study was to examine water quality samples obtained downstream of the farm and determine if the implementation of these BMPs were successful in reducing E. coli contamination of the Hoosic River. On September 13, 2017, eight water samples collected from four testing locations were subjected to the Colilert enzyme substrate test, along with a field blank and a lab blank for controls. Total coliform and E. coli bacterial load results were recorded and analyzed using Microsoft Excel. It is hypothesized that E. coli levels would remain high at the source, despite BMP implementation. The data supported the hypothesis showing that the BMP’s implemented did not reduce E. coli levels at the source.