According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, quagga mussels were recently discovered at Canyon, Saguaro and Apache lakes, adding to the list of a dozen quagga-affected reservoirs, which include Lake Havasu.
To pinpoint trends of quagga infestations and other water-related phenomena, some ASU students are beginning to study different aspects of the lake.
One of those students is Robert Lynch, who recently wrapped up a semester-long research project that focused on water circulation within Lake Havasu. He said he hoped the research would allow officials to predict algal blooms, a favorite snack of quagga mussels.
“Lakes go through stratification every year. As you go from the surface to the bottom the temperature will change and it creates layers that are different based on temperature. In the winter, as the water gets colder, water from the bottom can mix with water on the top,” Lynch said. “I looked at how quagga mussels could affect the average temperature of the water and other characteristics like pH and dissolved oxygen.”
Lake Havasu City’s Water Resources Coordinator Doyle Wilson said so far algal levels have remained low this year thanks to cooler-than-normal weather brought in by El Nino, but he said there’s still a lot to know about Lake Havasu.
“This lake has not been well-studied in the past - there are only a few studies that have been done,” Wilson said. “I’m trying to get us up to speed on understanding.”
Lynch said it was exciting to be one of the first students to delve into research about the lake, but the lack of consistent historical data made it difficult to pull out certain trends.
“There’s a lot of research that can be done. What has been done already has been monitoring detection of different things by government agencies, maybe not so much to the point where they’re trying to figure out what’s causing these things – that’s what ASU Havasu is trying to do,” Lynch said.
Wilson said the foundation that this research provided can be built upon for future projects.
“We still want to understand the nutrient cycle, understand the flow of currents by season and on a long term basis and how the water reacts to what’s flowing down the river,” Wilson said. "
-Today's News Herald