My name is Anju Shrestha and I am an Environmental Science and Policy graduate student at Plymouth State University working to determine event-based variability in Phosphorus (P) concentration in stream water across storm event hydrographs in the Squam Lake watershed. Prior to joining the program, I graduated from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal with a Master of Science in Environmental Science.
P is the primary limiting nutrient, essential for the growth of algae in most freshwater aquatic systems. The enrichment of P in rivers and Lakes can degrade the competition between different aquatic plant species which affects the whole ecosystem. The increase in P can even lead to algal blooms or eutrophication and deteriorate the quality of water. The streams and Lakes of New Hampshire are relatively cleaner than in other places but we cannot ignore the possibility of their degradation. So, timely study on P can make us aware and save our streams and lakes from eutrophication.
I have selected three different tributaries to the Squam Lake as my sites of interest. They are tributaries present in the North Brook, Livermore Cove and Dog Cove. I will be using discharge and specific conductivity data from the LoVoTECS Network. I will collect the water samples by using ISCO samplers before, during and after the storm events. The sampling periods will be set to catch the higher intensity and duration of precipitation events. The collected water samples will be tested in the laboratory of Plymouth State University to analyze Total Dissolved Phosphorus (TDP), Total Particulate Phosphorus (TPP) and Total Phosphorus (TP). Besides that, the water will be tested for other important parameters like pH, turbidity, conductivity, etc.
I will attempt to find the relation between TDP, TPP and TP with runoff in the streams. My research will also try to find whether specific conductivity and temperature obtained from LoVoTECS network are useful for explaining the variability of P in the stream. If they are found to be useful, this can lead to future research on how they affect the variability of Phosphorus.
My work will help to raise understanding, fulfill the gap of knowledge on P present in the tributaries of Squam Lake and increase awareness of eutrophication which can degrade the quality of water and wildlife present in a watershed. It will also help to monitor the trend of P concentration in stream water to Squam Lake.
LoVoTECS site modified for discharge
Photo by Anju Shrestha