Some Considerations for Managing Urban Lakes
Cooper, F. Randolph, III
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Water quality in a lake, or any other water body, is determined largely by the watershed which drains into it the effects of soil characteristics, land use patterns, and topography form a continuous process which is driven by each rainfall event. Soil erosion is an on-going process which over time will gradually transform a lake into shallow marsh. The rate of a lake's aging process through sedimentation is a direct function of the amount of soil loss from the watershed. Urban development in a lake's watershed accelerates the aging process which reduces the useable life of the lake. The lake functionally acts as a settling basin for the watershed. In an urban setting lakes provide vital roles as stormwater retention areas. However, despite the on-going sedimentation from a developing watershed, many urban lakes are used for recreation and aesthetic purposes. Many subdivisions, office parks, apartments, and private residences will typically use a lake as an amenity to the overall project. This conflict of use - retention vs.. recreation - creates a management challenge for the lake owners and users. With the recent development (post 1970) around the Atlanta area, many lakes and ponds have been impacted by watershed changes and disturbances. The objectives of this paper are: (1) to examine two problem areas common to many small impoundments in the piedmont region of Georgia: low biological productivity and sedimentation; and (2) to present practical management strategies and available in-lake management technologies for developing effective plans for addressing these problems.