Cayuga Lake Watershed Data Sets

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Data Sets from the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network.


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    Cayuga Lake (New York) Water Quality Monitoring Data Related to the Cornell Lake Source Cooling Facility, 1998-2009
    Adams, James (2010-07-12T14:55:07Z)
    Cornell University has been monitoring ambient conditions in Cayuga Lake since 1998 to provide a record of water quality conditions in the lake before and after the Lake Source Cooling facility startup in 2000. The primary objective is to conduct an ambient water quality monitoring program focusing on the southern portion of Cayuga Lake to support long-term records of trophic state indicators, including concentrations of total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, chlorophyll-a, turbidity, and other measures of water quality. In addition to this water quality monitoring data set, the complete collection of annual reports is available online:
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    The Cayuga Lake Watershed Generalized Watershed Loading Function Geospatial Database [documentation]
    Hollingshead, Nicholas; Anderson, Sharon; Haith, Douglas (2009-05-28T21:07:02Z)
    This paper documents the database structure and methods used to create the Cayuga Lake Watershed Generalized Watershed Loading Function (GWLF) Geospatial Database.
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    Monthly operation reports for the City of Ithaca (New York) Water Treatment Plant including raw Sixmile Creek water and finished drinking water for 2000-2010
    Baker, Charles (2008-08-13T18:55:10Z)
    The data posted here are used by the City of Ithaca Water Treatment Plant for process control and reporting purposes. Raw water (untreated Sixmile Creek) is monitored for key water quality and chemical properties. Some of the monitoring serves to track water quality trends for possible problems, other monitoring is done to aid in optimization of treatment, i.e. chemical applications. The water is monitored at various points throughout the treatment process to ensure that treatment goals are being achieved. Backwash, settling, filtration, and Vinegar Hill pump station are all examples of system components that are monitored. The finished water (treated tap water sampled at the water treatment plant) quality data collection is targeted to meeting basic standards as defined by the New York State Department of Health and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The City of Ithaca drinking water distribution system is divided into three parts: gravity, East Ithaca, and Mitchell Street. East Ithaca and Mitchell Street are two different pumping zones, each with multiple pumps. Flow and pressure are tracked independently to these different parts and pumps in the system. Finally, related information is collected about pump hours and chemical usage. This information is important for process control with regards to chemical treatment and can also serve as chemical and mechanical tracking. The posted data covers 2000-2010 (2010 data through March only). Available data, to be posted in the future, covers 1915 to the present.
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    Water quality data for southern tributaries to Cayuga Lake (Tompkins County, NY): 1987-1989
    Bouldin, David (2007-11-12T14:18:31Z)
    In the period 1987 to 1989 a stream water sampling and analysis program for the southern Cayuga Lake basin was carried out as a part of the continuing analysis of central NY water quality (Manuscripts and Water Quality Data for Watersheds and Lakes in Central NY, 1972-2003, online:; Water quality data for Fall Creek (Tompkins County, NY) sampling sites: 1972-1995, online:; Water quality data for well, stream, and seep samples from the Harford Teaching and Research Farm (Cortland County, NY): 1974-1994, online:; Water quality data for Kashong Creek Watershed (Ontario County and Yates County, NY) sampling sites: 1977-1979, online: The samples were analyzed for suspended solids, NO3-N, and total dissolved phosphorus. The streams sampled were Fall Creek, Six Mile Creek, Cascadilla Creek and Inlet. Samples included all seasons and all flow regimes. On average, the NO3-N concentration in Fall Creek was 1.26 ppm, about twice that in the other streams. In the period 1972-1975, average NO3-N concentration was 0.97. The suspended solids in Six Mile Creek at Burns Road was higher than that in the other streams but at a location near its confluence with the lake (after passing though 2 impoundments), the concentration was comparable. Total dissolved P was lowest for inlet. In other locations (Six Mile Creek and Cascadilla) the TDP tended to increase after passage though City of Ithaca. A comparison of the suspended solids load in Fall Creek, 1973-1974 with 1987-1989 showed no important difference.
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    Water quality data for Fall Creek (Tompkins County, NY) sampling sites: 1972-1995
    Bouldin, David (2007-08-02T18:54:10Z)
    This data base is a compilation of water quality data collected in the period 1972 through 1995 from the Fall Creek watershed (including USGS site 04234000) and its subwatersheds. I am deeply grateful to the many research associates, graduate students, post docs and fellow faculty who helped collect and interpret the data. In 1970 Cornell University received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to study runoff from land and its impact on water quality. A multidisciplinary team was developed and led by Professor Robert J Young. In 1975-6 this research was summarized in the following: Johnson, Arthur H. 1975. Phosphorus export from the Fall Creek watershed. Ph D thesis. Cornell University Library, Ithaca NY. Johnson, Arthur H., David R. Bouldin, Edward A. Goyette, and Anne Hedges. 1976. Phosphorus loss by stream transport from a rural watershed: Quantities, processes and sources. J. Environ Quality. 5:148-157. Johnson, Arthur H. David R. Bouldin, Edward Goyette and Anne Hedges. 1976. Nitrate dynamics in Fall Creek New York. J Environ Quality. 5:386-391. Johnson, Arthur H, David .R. Bouldin, Gary W. Hergert. 1975. Some observations concerning preparation and storage of stream samples for dissolved inorganic phosphorus. Water Resources Research. 11:559-562. Porter, Keith S. and Robert J. Young eds. 1976. Nitrogen and phosphorus. Food production Waste and the Environment. Ann Arbor Science Inc. Ann Arbor Mi. (ISBN 0-250-40111-8) Information Bulletin 127 (Bouldin, D.R. et al. Lakes and Phosphorus inputs. A Focus on Management. New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cornell University, Ithaca NY). Since the above project was finished, monitoring has continued at irregular intervals as financing became available. The archived files describe the results of analysis of over 3000 water samples, 1972- 1995, concerned with land runoff and the lakes in central NY. Major findings follow. Three P fractions were measured: MRP, TDP and TP. MRP was measured on centrifuged samples without treatment and is presumed to be mostly inorganic P in solution. TDP is measured on centrifuged samples after oxidation of organic forms of P and hence is total P in solution. TP is particulate P plus TDP. Usually MRP and TDP are considered the major forms used by algae. (Porter, 1976 pp 61-120, Information Bulletin 127; see also ms2_anal, ms1_intP.doc at The average TDP in about 1500 samples from Fall Creek was 0.026 mg per liter, loading was about 4400 Kg P or about 0.13 kg/ha/year . About ? was MRP. Total P was about 0.140 mg/liter. Approximate sources of TDP are as follows: 50% from inactive agriculture and forest, the other 50% attributed to human activities of which about half was from diffuse sources and half from point sources. MRP concentrations in runoff from 16 subwatersheds varied from 0.006 to 0.050 mg/l. The TDP in Cayuga Lake ranges from 0.005 to 0.020 mg per liter. The TDP load in Kashong Creek (a tributary to Seneca Lake) was 0.25 kg/ha/year (about twice that from Fall Creek). (Porter, 1976 pp 61-120, Information Bulletin 127). NO3 loading from Fall Creek is about 5.5 kg/ha /year; this is about 80% of the input of inorganic N in precipitation. This is a consequence of mosaic of sources varying widely in concentration. NO3 loading from 9 subwatersheds in Fall Creek varied from 1 to 7.7 kg/ha/year; no sample containing more than 10 ppm was found. (Porter 1976 pp 108-114). Streams draining wooded areas without human habitations or active agriculture have NO3 concentrations similar to those found in the Catskill and Hubbard Brook in NY and loadings on the order of 20 % (~1 kg/ha/year) of the inputs of inorganic N from precipitation and (see ms5_biog.doc; online at . There is presently no evidence of "forest saturation with N" in the Fall Creek watershed. There are unlikely to be more than a very few small streams in the Fall Creek watershed in which the concentration of NO3-N will exceed the 10 ppm public health standard. However some aquifers under heavily fertilized fields (such as those on the Harford T&R Center) may contain more than the public health standard. (ms9_NO3.doc, ms5_biog.doc; online at Estimates of evapotranspiration (ET) for Fall Creek did not change statistically during the period 1926-1996 as estimated by annual precipitation input minus stream outflow, indicating that land use changes were not important in influencing ET in this watershed (ms_15_ET.doc; online at Cl was used as tracer of effects of road salt. During late spring-summer-early fall when road salt was not applied, the flow weighted Cl concentration increased from about 11 ppm in 1972 to 19 ppm in 2003. The Cl concentration of samples taken during snow melt or winter rain following applications of road salt were as high as 60 to 70 ppm Estimated flow weighted concentration of Cl delivered to Cayuga Lake is 24 ppm (ms16_slt.doc; online at The most important sampling protocols are the following: Concentrations of constituents in stream water vary seasonally and/or with flow intensity. This means that a) timing of sampling must be carried out during all seasons and over all flow regimes, b) amounts of various substances such as N, P and sediment transported to lakes and reservoirs are the product of flow multiplied by concentration which means that flow measurements must be made at the same time as samples are taken for analytical determination. With respect to TDP, point sources will be most evident under low flow conditions while non- point sources will be most evident under high flow conditions. Loading of non point sources is thus very much dependent on the 10 % to 20% of the time when highest flow conditions occur. The most important conclusion I reached about watershed management is the following. Watershed management requires detailed knowledge about the cost of several management options per unit of decrease in loading/ concentration. Our experience was that the various human activities in sub watersheds were correlated with each other. This meant that statistical analysis of correlations between loading of N and P were useless in identifying the management options which would be most beneficial. This also means that commonly used procedures for validating models are useless in terms of developing management strategies (Ms12_mgm.doc; online at