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Article
Author(s)

David Tomasko1, Emily Keenan1, Jessica Hudson2, Matt Logan3, Sherri Ouimet3 and Joanne Vernon3

Affiliation(s)

1. Environmental Science Associates, Tampa, FL 33607, USA
2. Atkins North America, Tampa, FL 33607, USA
3. Public Works Engineering Division, Charlotte County Government, Punta Gorda, FL 33950, USA

ABSTRACT

The Sunshine Lake/Sunrise Waterway System, located in Southwest Florida (USA) previously experienced extensive and persistent algal blooms, with noxious odors and deep organic-rich sediments. This algal bloom was addressed via a lake-wide dredging project to remove the material from the lake bottom. A contributing factor to the algal bloom is elevated phosphorus in stormwater runoff, likely due to naturally phosphorus-rich geology in the surrounding watershed. Due to the naturally elevated phosphorus supply, excessive nutrient loads will likely continue in the future. An ongoing monitoring program, initiated after the dredging of the lake, determined that a type of algae (Chara sp.) other than that which caused the initial bloom had established itself by October 2015. This plant biomass is considered an alternative destination for incoming nutrient loads, and as such should be managed, rather than eliminated via the use of herbicides. The abundance and nutrient content of the mass of Chara sp. in the lake and waterway was estimated, and the amount of external nutrient load that would be removed from the lake with physical harvesting of Chara sp. was quantified. The cost-effectiveness of nutrient removal via physical harvesting of Chara sp. was then compared against typical stormwater treatment ponds.

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