The Effects of Aeration on the Shoreline Fishes of a Eutrophic Florida Lake

24 Feb

Excerpt from: The Effects of Aeration on the Shoreline Fishes of a Eutrophic Florida Lake

Prepared by: Andrew J. Leslie, Jr., Larry E. Nall, and Don C. Schmitz Florida Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Aquatic Plant Research and Control 3915 Commonwealth Boulevard Tallahassee, Florida 32399

Abstract

Highly eutrophic Lake Brooker, located in central Florida, was continuously aerated over a two year period using ceramic microporous diffusers coupled to four one-half horsepower air pump. Over the two-year period, three pumps operated flawlessly, while one pump failed twice. The aeration systems were sufficient to turn the lake’s volume over every 7-11 days. Every two months for one year prior to the aeration as well as for two years after the multiple-inversion aeration was turned of, the fish community was electrofished. As a result, we found that total catch per hour electro fishing increased by 50%, in particular bluegill, redear sunfish, dollar sunfish and threadfin shad increased.

Introduction

“Cultural eutrophication is one of the major problems affecting the water resources of Florida” (Brezonik, 1969; Brezonik and Shannon, 1971). The effects of enrichment are magnified due to the semitropical climate and generally shallow-clear water nature of Floridian lakes. The most common problems that are associated with the introduction of anthropogenic wastes in bodies of water include: increased sedimentation rates, phytoplankton blooms (most commonly blue green algae), increased biomass of aquatic planets, and deterioration of water quality, which can result in fish kills and human health hazards.

Results

For both treatment years, the annual average catch per hour for electrofishing was significantly when compared to the pre-aeration year. Catches during the two-year aeration treatment period were predominantly bluegill, followed by threadfin shad, largemouth bass, redear sunfish and golden shiner.

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The Effects of Aeration on the Shoreline Fishes of a Eutrophic Florida Lake