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Effects of trail construction on the Quarry Pond

Shannon Crosby and Melissa Cobb
Conservation Biology class, BIO 345, Biology Department, DePauw University
Fall semester 2013

Introduction
The Quarry Trail is one of the main trails in the DePauw Nature Park.   The trail was constructed in 2004 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.  We were interested in determining 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 1 m of the water's edge.

Results
There were no significant differences in the nitrate levels, orthophosphate levels, water temperature, or plant species composition between the two water bodies on each side of the Quarry Trail.  pH and dissolved oxygen levels were significantly higher in the large pond than the small pond.  

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 are enough evidence to conclude that construction of the Quarry Trail significantly affected the Quarry Pond.  Continued monitoring in the future may result in more significant differences between the two ponds.