ONONDAGA LAKE AMBIENT MONITORING PROGRAM

 

2010 ANNUAL REPORT

 

 

 

 

ONONDAGA COUNTY, NEW YORK

 

 

Revised March 2012

 

 

 

Prepared for

 

ONONDAGA COUNTY, NEW YORK

 

 

 

Prepared by

 

EcoLogic, LLC

Aquatic, Terrestrial and Wetland Consultants

Cazenovia, NY 13035

 

 

 

 


Anchor QEA, LLC

Liverpool, NY

 

 

Lars Rudstam, Ph.D.

Cornell Biological Field Station

Bridgeport, NY

 

 


Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection

Syracuse, NY

 

 

William W. Walker, Jr., Ph.D.

Environmental Engineer

Concord, MA

 



Key Features of this Report

 

This report presents the findings of Onondaga County’s Ambient Monitoring Program (AMP) for 2010.  The County’s annual monitoring program is designed to evaluate compliance with water quality standards and trends as improvements to the wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure are completed.  Each year, the Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection collects extensive water quality and biological data to characterize Onondaga Lake and its watershed.  This summary report of 2010 conditions provides a synopsis of the extensive data to the many stakeholders interested in Onondaga Lake.

 

The 2010 report was prepared and distributed as an electronic document.  Key results and supporting tables and graphics are included in the main document, with links to supporting tables, technical reports and graphics in an electronic library.  The report and supporting files are available on CD upon request and on the Onondaga County web site www.ongov.net/wep.  Throughout the document, the reader will find hyperlinks to additional detailed tables, graphs and related reports. These hyperlinks appear as underlined words in the print copy. Simple definitions of many of the technical terms are included (roll the computer mouse over a highlighted term).  These words and phrases will appear as shaded in the print copy. Maps and figures can be viewed at higher magnification by holding down the “ctrl” key and scrolling with the mouse wheel.

 

Once in the library of supporting documents, the reader can navigate back to the main report using browser navigation tools such as the back arrow. There are more than 200 supporting tables and graphics in the library of supporting materials.  While each hyperlink has been checked, it is possible that some features will not be enabled on every computer’s operating system.  Feedback on the functionality of the electronic features of the document is welcome.  Please contact JeannePowers@ongov.net with comments.

 

 


Table of Contents- AMP 2010

Key Features of this Report. 3

Executive Summary. 9

Section 1.      Introduction to the AMP. 24

1.1      Regulatory requirements. 24

1.2      Classification and Best Use. 24

1.3      AMP Objectives and Design. 26

1.4      Amended Consent Judgment Milestones. 28

1.5      Projects to address legacy industrial pollution. 30

1.6      Use of metrics to measure and report progress. 30

Section 2.      Onondaga Lake and Watershed. 33

2.1      Watershed size and hydrology. 33

2.2      Land use. 34

2.3      Morphometry. 34

Section 3.      Onondaga County Actions. 37

Section 4.      Tributary Results: 2010 Results and Trends. 43

4.1      Climatic conditions. 43

4.2      Tributaries. 43

4.2.1        Compliance with ambient water quality standards. 43

4.2.2        Loads. 47

4.2.3        Trends. 52

4.2.4        Tributary macroinvertebrates. 59

4.3      Metro performance. 62

Section 5.      Onondaga Lake Water Quality: 2010 Results and Trends. 65

5.1      Sampling Locations. 65

5.2      Compliance with AWQS. 65

5.3      Trophic state. 67

5.3.1        Total Phosphorus (TP). 68

5.3.2        Chlorophyll-a. 68

5.3.3        Secchi Disk Transparency. 70

5.3.4        Trophic State Index. 71

5.4      Dissolved Oxygen. 74

5.5      Ammonia N and nitrite N.. 74

5.6      Recreational quality. 75

5.7      Nearshore condition and trends. 77

5.7.1        Nearshore water clarity trends. 77

5.7.2        Fecal coliform bacteria trends. 77

5.8      Trends in Metro improvements and lake response. 78

Section 6.      Biology and Food Web: 2010 Results and Trends. 86

6.1      Primary producers- Algae and Macrophytes. 86

6.2      Zooplankton and dreissenid mussels. 91

6.3      Littoral macroinvertebrates. 95

6.4      Fish. 98

6.4.1        Richness and Diversity. 99

6.4.2        Reproductive Success. 99

6.4.3        Recreational Fishery. 104

6.4.4        Fish Size – Largemouth Bass. 104

6.4.5        Fish Size – Smallmouth Bass. 104

6.4.6        Fish Size – Sunfish. 104

6.4.7        Fish Size – Yellow Perch and Brown Bullhead. 105

6.4.8        Angler Catch Rates of Bass. 105

6.5      Fish Abnormalities. 106

6.6      Additional information regarding the fish community. 108

6.7      Integrated assessment of the food web. 108

Section 7.      Seneca River: 2010 Conditions and Trends. 113

Section 8.      Progress with related initiatives. 118

Section 9.      Emerging issues and recommendations. 121

Section 10.   Acknowledgements. 122

Section 11.   Literature cited. 123

List of Acronyms and Glossary of Terms

Library of Supporting Materials

 

LIST OF TABLES

Table EX- 1.    Summary of Metrics, Onondaga Lake 2010. 20

 

Table 1‑1.        Overview of AMP data analysis and interpretation plan. 28

Table 1‑2.        Metro compliance schedule. 29

Table 1‑3.        CSO compliance schedule. 30

Table 3‑1.        Summary (timeline) of significant milestones and pollution abatement actions and lake water quality conditions. 37

Table 3‑2.        CSO remedial projects (gray infrastructure) planned. 41

Table 4‑1.        Summary of tributary compliance with ambient water quality standards, 2010. 44

Table 4‑2.        Flow-weighted average concentration of selected parameters in Onondaga Lake tributaries, 2010. 47

Table 4‑3.        Load of selected nutrients, salts and bacteria to Onondaga Lake, 2010. 49

Table 4‑4.        Percent annual loading contribution by gauged inflow, 2010. 50

Table 4‑5.        Tributary and Metro Total Phosphorus (TP) Loading to Onondaga Lake, pre-ACJ and post-Actiflo implementation. 52

Table 4‑6.        Tributary and Metro Soluble Reactive Phosphorus (SRP) Loading to Onondaga Lake, pre-ACJ and post-Actiflo implementation. 52

Table 4‑7.        Tributary and Metro Total Dissolved Phosphorus (TDP) Loading to Onondaga Lake, pre-ACJ and post-Actiflo implementation. 53

Table 4‑8.        Ten-year trends in tributary concentrations (2001-2010) – summary. 54

Table 4‑9.        Ten-year trends in tributary loading (2001-2010) – summary. 57

Table 4‑10.      Incidence of chironomid deformities, Onondaga Lake tributaries, 2010. 61

Table 5‑1.        Onondaga Lake compliance with ambient water quality standards and guidance values, 2010. 66

Table 5‑2.        Percent of Ammonia Measurements in Compliance with Ambient Water Quality Standards, Onondaga Lake, 1998-2010. 74

Table 5‑3.        Summary of trends in lake concentrations, 2001-2010. 78

Table 6‑1.        Species list of aquatic macrophytes observed in Onondaga Lake. 89

Table 6‑2.        Mean index value and corresponding NYSDEC water quality assessment score from petite Ponar samples (with dreissenid mussels included in the sample) for sites in Onondaga Lake in 2010. 96

Table 6‑3.        Fish species identified in Onondaga Lake, 2000-2010. 98

Table 7‑1.        Summary of non-compliance with selected AWQS, Three Rivers, 2010. 114

 


 

 

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure EX- 1.   Daily average discharge of Ammonia-N (NH3-N) to Onondaga Lake from Metro, 1990-2010. 10

Figure EX- 2.   Daily average phosphorus (TP) loading from Metro, 1990-2010. 11

Figure EX- 3.   Annual average ammonia-N concentrations, Onondaga Lake upper waters (0-3 m), 1990-2010. 12

Figure EX- 4.   Ammonia input to Onondaga Lake, 1990-2004 and 2010. 12

Figure EX- 5.   Average total phosphorus concentration, June 1 – Sept 30, Onondaga Lake upper waters (0-3 m), 1990-2010. 13

Figure EX- 6.   Total phosphorus input to Onondaga Lake, 1990-2004 and 2010. 13

Figure EX- 7.   Summer algal bloom frequency, Onondaga Lake, 1990 – 2010. 14

Figure EX- 8.   Volume-days of anoxia (dissolved oxygen less than 0.5 mg/l) and hypoxia (dissolved oxygen less than 2 mg/l), Onondaga Lake 1992-2010. 15

Figure EX- 9.   Minimum DO concentration in upper waters (0-3 m) during fall turnover (October) in Onondaga Lake, 1990 – 2010. 15

Figure EX- 10.        Aquatic plant coverage, 2000 and 2010. 16

Figure EX- 11.        Number of macrophyte species identified in Onondaga Lake, 2000, 2005 and 2010. 16

Figure EX- 12.        Bass (smallmouth and largemouth adults) captured by electrofishing in Onondaga Lake, 2001 – 2010. 17

Figure EX- 13.        Average zooplankton size (all taxa combined) and alewife catch rates from electrofishing, 2000-2010, Onondaga Lake. 18

Figure EX- 14.        Mean Secchi disk depth measurements and mean zooplankton size, Onondaga Lake, 1999 – 2010. 19

 

Figure 1‑1.      Tributary and lake regulatory classifications and subwatershed boundaries. 25

Figure 1‑2.      Map of monitoring locations, Onondaga Lake and tributaries. 27

Figure 2‑1.      Annual average inflows to Onondaga Lake, 2001-2010. 32

Figure 2‑2.      Land cover classification map. 33

Figure 2‑3.      Bathymetric map. 34

Figure 3‑1.      Map of CSO areas. 40

Figure 4‑1.      Fecal coliform bacteria abundance, Onondaga Lake tributaries, 2010. 45

Figure 4‑2.      Watershed (non-Metro) TP annual load and annual rainfall, 1990-2010. 50

Figure 4‑3.      Biological assessment designations, Onondaga Lake tributaries, 2000- 2010. 59

Figure 4‑4.      Metro NH3-N, 2010 effluent concentration compared to permit limits. 62

Figure 4‑5.      Metro TP, 2010 effluent concentration compared to permit limit. 62

Figure 5‑1.      Chlorophyll-a concentration, January to December, 1998-2010. 68

Figure 5‑2.      TP and chlorophyll-a concentrations in Onondaga Lake compared with selected regional lakes. 69

Figure 5‑3.      Secchi Disk transparency, Onondaga Lake South Deep, 2010. 70

Figure 5‑4.      TSI conditions based on summer (June 1 – September 30) data, 1998-2010. 72

Figure 5‑5.      Representation of the earliest dates of anoxia occurring at 15m depth in Onondaga Lake during the years from each time period (1990-1998 and 2007-2010). 73

Figure 5‑6.      Fecal coliform bacteria compliance, Onondaga Lake nearshore stations, April – October 2010. 75

Figure 5‑7.      TP loading (water year), all external sources and summer TP concentration Onondaga Lake upper waters, 1990 – 2010. 80

Figure 5‑8.      Relationship of Metro TP loading and lake summer TP (panel A-linear regression). 81

Figure 5‑9.      Onondaga Lake upper waters total nitrogen to total phosphorus (N:P) ratio, 1998‐2010. 82

Figure 5‑10.    LWL concentrations of SRP, NO3-N and DO, 2006-2010. 83

Figure 6‑1.      Reduction in the Onondaga Lake phytoplankton standing crop, 1998-2010. 85

Figure 6‑2.      Proportional biomass of phytoplankton divisions, 2010. 86

Figure 6‑3.      Phytoplankton community structure and biomass, 2010. 87

Figure 6‑4.      Macrophyte distribution, 2000 – 2010.