Phosphorus and Sediment Transport in Sixmile Creek and Cayuga Inlet
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Georgakakos, Christine B
Phosphorus and sediment loads in the southern end of Cayuga Lake have been recognized as potentially problematic. This study assesses a small portion of this larger system: the sediment and phosphorus loads in the downtown Inlet channel by Cayuga Inlet and Sixmile Creek. Silt content and turbidity are both found to have linear relationships with water extractable phosphorus. Finer sediments (i.e. silts and clays) tend to more easily bind phosphorus (Brady, 2008), and therefore function as transportation mechanisms through sediment movement. Cayuga Inlet and Sixmile Creek were found to have comparable amounts of water extractable phosphorus, though the concentrations in the two streams followed different tends as phosphorus is plotted versus distance. One possible explanation for this is the presence and absence of settling basins on Sixmile Creek and Cayuga Inlet respectively. Depending on whether or not only the main natural channel of Sixmile creek is included in the analysis or if the settling basins (Ithaca Reservoir, Silt pond, 30m dam) are included, Sixmile is found to have less and more silt respectively than Cayuga Inlet. The question is raised as to which stream contributes the largest annual load to the inlet. Haith et al. (2012) determined that Cayuga Inlet contributes more phosphorus (likely bound to sediment), while this study found that Sixmile likely contributes a larger load.
Sediment; Phosphorus; Sixmile Creek; Cayuga Inlet