Project at a Glance

Title: Statewide survey of aquatic ecosystem chemistry

Principal Investigator / Author(s): McCleneghan, Kim

Contractor: California Department of Fish and Game, Environmental Services Branch

Contract Number: A5-178-32

Research Program Area: Ecosystem & Multimedia Effects

Topic Areas: Acid Deposition, Ecosystem Impacts


California has approximately 5,000 lakes and 25,000 miles of rivers and streams. Many are located in granite basins with small watershed areas, possess thin watershed soils, and have low alkalinity waters, features which often characterize areas sensitive to acid deposition. Fifty waters throughout the State (Figure 1, Appendix A) were sampled to (i) survey the water chemistry of selected California lakes and streams, (ii) determine the vulnerability of these waters to acidification, (iii) examine the seasonal variability of water chemistry parameters, (iv) provide a background database against which future measurements can be compared and (v) identify geographical regions sensitive to acid deposition. The first year of the two-year study was completed in December 1985 (McCleneghan et al., 1985). It was concluded that surface waters in certain regions of California demonstrated low alkalinity, low ionic strength, and low conductivity. Water with these characteristics are generally accepted as being very sensitive to acid deposition and susceptible to acidification because of their inability to buffer acidic inputs.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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