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Water Quality


In recent years, samples have been

collected from five locations in

Houghton Lake to evaluate baseline

water quality conditions. When evaluating

water quality, the nutrient "phosphorus" is

of primary concern in that phosphorus is

the nutrient that most often stimulates

aquatic plant growth and leads to a

number of problems collectively known as

eutrophication. The median phosphorus

concentration measured to date in

Houghton Lake is just above the eutrophic concentration of 20 parts per billion.

During ice-free periods, Houghton Lake is well mixed and temperatures in the lake are nearly uniform top to bottom. Oxygen is mixed throughout the water column and fish and other aquatic organisms are able to inhabit the entire water column. Algae growth in the open waters of the lake is minimal, however, transparency measurements are generally less than 10 feet. The low transparency is likely due to the mixing of the water column that suspends sediments, and the presence of natural tannins draining from area wetlands that impart a brownish color to the lake.

Oligotrophic lakes are generally deep

and clear with little aquatic plant

growth. These lakes maintain sufficient

dissolved oxygen in the cool, deep bottom

waters during late summer to support

cold water fish such as trout and whitefish.

Lakes that fall between the two

extremes of oligotrophic and eutrophic

are called Mesotrophic lakes.

Eutrophic lakes have poor clarity, and

support abundant aquatic plant growth.

In deep eutrophic lakes, the cool bottom

waters usually contain little or no

dissolved oxygen. Therefore, these lakes

can only support warm water fish such

as bass and pike.

Recent sampling indicates that Houghton

Lake’s water quality is between mesotrophic

and eutrophic.

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