Hydroclimatic and landscape controls on phosphorus loads to hypereutrophic Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, United States

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rosemary Records1, Steven R Fassnacht1, Mazdak Arabi1 and Walter G. Duffy2, (1)Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, United States, (2)California Cooperative Fish Research Unit, Arcata, CA, United States
Elevated total phosphorus (P) loading into Upper Klamath Lake, southern Oregon, United States has caused hypereutrophic conditions impacting endangered lake fish species. Increases in P loading have been attributed to land use changes, such as timber harvest and wetland drainage. The contribution of P to Upper Klamath Lake has been estimated from each major tributary, yet little research has explored what land use or other variables have most influence on P loading within the tributaries. In addition, previous work has shown a range of potential hydroclimatic shifts by the 2040s, with potential to alter P loading mechanisms. In this study, we use statistical methods including principle component analysis and multiple linear regression to determine what hydroclimatic and landscape variables best explain flow-weighted P concentration in the Sprague River, one of three main tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake. Identification of key variables affecting P loading has direct implications for management decisions in the Upper Klamath River Basin. Increases in P loading related to sediment loading are due to bank and upslope erosion. The former is more prevalent in areas of historic channel alteration and cattle grazing, while the latter is more dominant in areas of heavy timber harvesting and more precipitation as rain.