Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Excess nutrients are a problem for many lakes and rivers across the country. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires states to monitor polluted waterbodies and provide plans to remediate them. These plans are commonly submitted in a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report where sources and polluters are identified. These reports have not been successful, however, at solving all nutrient problems.

Newman Lake in Washington and Mantua Reservoir in Utah are two lakes that continue to receive excess nutrients, notably phosphorus. High levels of these nutrients lead to increased biological activity and subsequent drops in dissolved oxygen. Many lakes also experience Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) due to these nutrients where cyanobacteria bloom and release cyanotoxins into the water. Cyanotoxins are a threat to public safety and are the main motivator to reducing nutrient loadings.

This report identifies and recommends alternatives to apply in remediating the problems caused by excess nutrients. The most effective method of reducing nutrient loadings is often a form of watershed management. If the nutrients can be stopped before reaching the water body, then there is no need for later removal. In Mantua Reservoir’s watershed, this requires a focus on agriculture due to the high potential for agricultural nutrient loadings. Newman Lake, on the other hand, contains no significant agricultural loading. The management efforts to reduce nutrients are therefore quite different. Remediation there focus on forested land and household practices to reduce phosphorus releases into the watershed.



Faculty Mentor

Ryan Dupont

Departmental Honors Advisor

Laurie McNeill

Capstone Committee Member

Joan McLean