Ecological health conditions in Cedar Creek Reservoir rated “fair” in 2017. The overall ecological health score for the reservoir has been in the “fair” range all years monitored.
The ecological health of Cedar Creek Reservoir has been monitored using the same methodology since 1994. Ecological health evaluations focus on five indicators: dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, sediment quality, benthic macroinvertebrate community (bottom life), and the fish assemblage. TVA monitors one location on Cedar Creek Reservoir, the forebay (Cedar Creek River Mile 25.2), near the dam.
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>72 = Good
59-72 = Fair
<59 = Poor
As in previous years, dissolved oxygen rated “poor” in 2017. The lower water column had low dissolved oxygen concentrations during the summer months.
Chlorophyll rated high “fair”. The average chlorophyll concentration for 2017 was slightly elevated relative to expectations, largely due to a high concentration in the May sample. Chlorophyll typically rates “good” for Cedar Creek Reservoir.
As in most previous years, the fish community rated “good”. Fish abundance and diversity have been very consistent over the years. In 2017, a total of twenty-six fish species was collected. The most prevalent fish were bluegill, longear sunfish, and spotted bass. Catch rates of intolerant species (species known to require good water quality conditions) also were at healthy levels.
Bottom life rated “good” in 2017 due to an increased abundance of organisms, as well as the occurrence of some less tolerant individuals (e.g., Hexagenia mayflies). Ratings for bottom life have fluctuated between “good”, “fair”, and “poor” from year-to-year.
Sediment quality rated “good” because no PCBs or pesticides were detected and concentrations of metals were within suggested background concentrations. Sediment quality typically rates “good” for Cedar Creek Reservoir, but in 2011 low levels of PCBs were detected and the concentration of arsenic was slightly higher than suggested background levels, resulting in a “fair” rating for this indicator.
TVA maintains a program to examine contaminants in fillets of fish collected from TVA reservoirs and their major tributary streams on a rotational basis. The data collected from this program are distributed to the state officials who are responsible for placing or removing fish tissue consumption advisories on those bodies of water. For information on advisories currently in effect for Cedar Creek Reservoir, visit the Alabama Department of Public Health.