USGS Washington Water Science Center
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Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is known for its clear, near-pristine water. Because the water is very low in plant nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, the lake is extremely susceptible to even small increases in nutrient levels, which could cause algal blooms and impact the health of three species of fish in the lake. Currently, the growth of bottom-dwelling algae in developed areas of the lake has reached a nuisance level. Little is known about the nutrient dynamics of the lake.
To help the National Park Service restore and protect Lake Crescent's ecosystem, the USGS is developing a nutrient budget for the Lake Crescent watershed that will identify nutrients going to and from Lake Crescent, with particular emphasis on developed and undeveloped areas of the watershed. The USGS will also provide technical assistance to Olympic National Park personnel in the effort to characterize the microbial quality of Lake Crescent and potential sources of microorganisms to the lake and its outlet stream.