Jacob’s Research Abstract

High Mountain Lakes As Indicators of Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change

Jacob Feistner1 , Shandin Pete2
1 Salish Kootenai College Hyrology Student, 2 Salish Kootenai College Hydrology Faculty

Abstract:
Lakes in mountainous areas are of special interest in environmental studies because of their sensitivity to inputs of atmospheric pollution and climate change. Globally high mountain lakes tend to be removed from the local sources of pollution such as logging, mining, agriculture, and land development (Rabe 2006). Mountain lakes, therefore, can be
early indicators of more widespread environmental changes (Skjelkvale 2012). There is growing concern that these high mountain lakes are understudied (Campbell 1995 in Mast 2010) and therefore the wealth of knowledge that can be gleaned from studying them is lost. The need to study and gather information on conditions in our Nation’s lakes has
never been greater ( EPA 2002). Studying these lakes is important, for documenting the current trends in high mountain lake water quality can assist in assessing the overall health of the environment. If high mountain lakes are studied and monitored, then future generations will be able to accurately compare and contrast environmental changes, and
present generations can begin to better understand trends in their constantly changing world. The objectives of this study were to establish a baseline water quality for high mountain lakes in the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness of northwestern Montana. Specifically the chain of Mud Lakes, Courville Lake, and Lucifer Lake were studied. Data
collected from the lakes was evaluated to determine if their unique geographic location affects the health of the lake and its capacity to support life. Another objective was to determine how atmospheric pollution is affecting or already has affected the high mountain lakes of the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness. These lakes and other high mountain
lakes are presumed to have pristine water quality, it is hoped that this study on high mountain lakes in the Mission Mountain Tribal Wilderness will be able to confirm that these lakes are indeed pristine and of an A1 rating (CSKT 2006).

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