Abstract (Original Study Proposal)
Half Moon Lake has, for many decades, suffered from excessive growth of aquatic plants due to high levels of phosphorus in the water column. Recent research has shown that cycling of phosphorus from sediments on the lake bed is the primary cause of the lake’s eutrophic condition. Resource managers concerned with rehabilitating the lake assume the phosphorus-rich sediment consists largely of decaying organic material that accumulated when the lake was an important center of Eau Claire’s lumber industry. Virtually nothing is known about where or how much organic sediment is in the lake. For this study, we propose research that will link the existence of organic sediment in Half Moon Lake to the history of the lumber industry on its shores. Specifically, we propose using a boat-mounted ground penetrating radar system to determine the quantity and spatial distribution of organic sediment in the lake. We hypothesize that the greatest amounts of organic sediment should be found near the sites of lumber mills that once stood on the lake’s shores. To test this hypothesis, we will develop a historical geography of milling on the lake which will entail identifying the location of all former mills and reconstructing their history of operation. We will then compare this information to a detailed isopach (or thickness) map of organic sediment produced from our GPR data to assess the validity of our hypothesis.
-Professor Douglas Faulkner
- Professor Harry Jol