Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brief description of Third Sister Lake

Although there have been many studies in Third Sister Lake, although I provided an initial description of Third Sister Lake, and although there have been descriptions of the history of the forest, little on this site has included much discussion of the history of the lake and of the inputs to the lake.

The following is taken from Hammer & Stoermer (1997), and any use of the following description in any publication must provide proper citation of their paper:
Third Sister Lake (42°17' N., 83°48' W.) is located approximately three miles west of Ann Arbor in the Saginaw Forest of Scio Township, Michigan (Figure 1). This small kettle lake likely formed during the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier, which created a terminal moraine in southern Michigan (Reed, 1902). Mature conifer plantations and hardwood stands of Saginaw Forest shelter Third Sister Lake. Although the lake stratifies in the summer, spring mixing does not occur every year (Lehman & Naumoski, 1986). The present maximum depth is 17.0 m, and the surface area about 3.8 ha. A small intermittent stream enters the lake on the south shore and a single outflow on the southwest shore drains through a small marsh (Figure 1) to the Huron River.

Although Saginaw Forest surrounds Third Sister Lake on a 32 ha tract, significant construction has occurred in the watershed since the 1960s. Agricultural activities originally occupied the entire area east of Saginaw Forest. Currently, this adjacent property is subdivided into several small plots (Wojcik, 1993, personal communication) where industrial and commercial construction has occurred from 1963 to the present (Figure 1). Contamination of Third Sister Lake and local groundwater with 1,4-dioxane was revealed in the 1980s following leakage from an unlined, oxidation lagoon on Gelman Sciences, Inc. property bordering the lake (Brode&Minning, 1988). The most recent project in the adjacent lot, initiated in 1987, included retention pond construction with an outflow that transports stormwater from this nearby property into the inflow stream bed in Saginaw Forest. Ultimately this stormwater reaches Third Sister Lake 300 m downstream. Although erosion barriers were erected in the stream bed on university property, these barriers have since been undercut and subverted by stream flow, creating a gully with steep banks of unconsolidated soil. (Hammer & Stoermer, 1997, pp. 438-439)

  • Hammer, Brian K.; Stoermer, Eugene F.; (1997). "Diatom-based interpretation of sediment banding in an urbanized lake." Journal of Paleolimnology 17 (4): 437-449.

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