A water quality model was created for Elephant Butte Reservoir, New Mexico to understand nutrient dynamics and algal response during a three year period. The model chosen for this study was CE-QUAL-W2 because of its proven ability to represent hydrodynamics and the ability to represent multiple algal groups. Elephant Butte has been subject to large algal blooms. This study examined the phosphorus loading into the reservoir to see if it could sustain the observed algal growth. Data showed that the amount of bioavailable phosphorus was more than enough to support large blooms. This study also was an initial attempt to model multiple groups of algae that will later be used in other water quality models built and maintained by the US Bureau of Reclamation. Four algal species were modeled; diatoms, dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria and greens. Research into literary values of kinetic parameters for multiple algal species was conducted and the results were compiled in this paper to assist future modeling efforts. Because Elephant Butte was often nitrogen-limited the calibration of algal growth was difficult. Algal growth was very sensitive to the adjustment of kinetic parameters for nitrogen half-saturation, light requirements, growth rates and temperature rate multipliers.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Nielsen, Eric J., "Algal Succession and Nutrient Dynamics in Elephant Butte Reservoir" (2005). All Theses and Dissertations. 280.
algae, multiple groups, water quality, Elephant Butte, CE-QUAL-W2