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Effects of quarry trail construction on the quarry pond

Shannon Crosby, Melissa Cobb, BIO 345, fall 2013

introduction

The Quarry Trail is one of the main trails in the DePauw Nature Park.  Construction of the trail began in 2004.  The trail was constructed across a portion of the quarry pond and resulted in isolation of a portion of the pond from the main body of water.  There is a small pipe that connects the two bodies of water, but the waterline is rarely high enough to allow water to flow between the two fragments.  

The objective of our study was to determine whether construction of the Quarry Trail had an effect on the quarry pond ecosystem.  More specifically, we aimed to establish whether one pond became two separate functioning ponds as a result of the construction.  

methods

We sampled five water quality variables:  dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, nitrate levels, orthophosphate levels, and plant species composition within a 1-m distance of the water's edge.   We used a YSI meter to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature.  We used an HACH color comparison test kit to measure ion levels of nitrates and orthophosphates.  
 

results

There were no significant differences in the nitrate levels, orthophosphate levels, water temperature, or plant species composition between the two pond fragments.  pH and dissolved oxygen levels were significantly higher in the large pond fragment than the small pond fragment.  

Discussion

Dissolved oxygen and pH are two of the most important factors in determining the quality of an aquatic environment.  The different levels of these two variables is enough evidence to conclude that construction of the Quarry Trail significantly affected the pond.  Continued monitoring in the future may result in more significant differences between the two pond fragments.