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Effects of log storage on zooplankton and juvenile salmonids in Babine Lake, British Columbia Power, Elizabeth A.


Effects of log storage on water quality, zooplankton and juvenile salmonids were investigated at Babine Lake, British Columbia in a series of enclosure, field and laboratory experiments. Enclosures were stocked with lake zooplankton and treated with lodgepole pine (Pinus Contorta) and white spruce (Picea glauca) logs for two 25 day periods. Oxygen depletion, to levels as low as 2.5 mg/l, and increased lignin and tannin (L-T) concentration (a measure of wood leachate) occurred in log treated enclosures. Zooplankton density significantly decreased with increased log number, but changes in community diversity were not consistent. In field studies at Morrison Arm, Babine Lake, extreme oxygen depletion (<1 mg/l) was observed in localized surface waters within a log storage area. Dye tracer studies within the log bundles implied reduced water movement, which may be involved in oxygen depletion. Local zooplankton abundance was usually lower at log storage sites than nearby undisturbed littoral sites and sockeye fry held in situ for 24 h periods acquired fewer and/or a lower diversity of prey items in log storage areas. Laboratory toxicity studies indicated that spruce bark leachates were more toxic than pine, but lethally toxic bark leachates had higher L-T values than those measured in the Morrison Arm log storage area. In chronic Daphnia bioassays, mortality rates significantly increased and fecundity rates significantly decreased during long term exposure to low concentrations of bark leachates. Results of enclosure experiments, field studies and laboratory bioassays provide evidence that zooplankton are reduced in abundance by conditions which accompany log storage, possibly through chronic toxicity or reduce fecundity. Because fry diet was sensitive to small changes in food abundance, there is potential for reduced survival of sockeye fry exposed to low oxygen concentrations and reduced food levels.

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