OXYGEN DEMAND IN ICE COVERED LAKES AS IT PERTAINS TO WINTER AERATION

Christopher R. Ellis, Heinz G. Stefan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Winterkill, the death of fish under ice due to oxygen deficiency, threatens hundreds of shallow lakes in the upper Midwest of the United States every winter. For decades, attempts have been made to prevent winterkill, usually through aeration, with mixed results. In large part, the failure of strategies to prevent winterkill can be linked to a lack of understanding of winter limnology and in particular, of oxygen dynamics under ice. Most winterkill lakes behave as closed systems with regard to oxygen. Consequently, the oxygen content of an ice and snow covered lake is essentially a function of the amount of initial storage and the rate of depletion. Should the stored oxygen be insufficient to prevent near anoxia before melting of the ice cover occurs, winterkill will result. Most oxygen consumption in ice covered lakes is due to bacterial respiration and chemical oxidation at the sediment/water interface, the remainder occurring in the water column. Oxygen consumption (and thus depletion) is a function of the velocity and oxygen concentration of the near sediment water. This is due to the fact that oxygen transport to the sediment is mediated by a diffusive boundary layer adjacent to the sediment surface. Winter oxygen depletion rates decrease when the oxygen concentration of the overlying water falls below about 3 mg/l. Aeration techniques which increase the oxygen concentration and velocity of the near‐sediment water also increase the oxygen consumption (depletion) rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1169-1176
Number of pages8
JournalJAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1989

Keywords

  • aeration
  • aerator
  • fish
  • ice
  • lakes
  • oxygen
  • water quality
  • winterkill

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