Fishing enthusiasts, boaters, geologists, environmental scientists and anyone else interested in Oregon lakes now have a new resource at their disposal. It’s the online, interactive “Atlas of Oregon Lakes,” launched this month by an academic team from Portland State University (PSU).
The atlas at http://aol.research.pdx.edu features an index of 215 lakes in all parts of the state. One hundred eighty downloadable PDF maps include depth contour lines, showing the shape of the lake under the surface. That’s a feature that fishermen may find particularly useful, according to Richard Lycan, PSU professor emeritus of Geography and Urban Studies and a member of the project team.
This is the second significant atlas of Oregon lakes put out by PSU. The first was a 317-page hard copy version published in 1985. Lycan was on the team for that project as well. The old atlas lives on thanks to downloadable links embedded on some of the online pages of individual lakes. Click on Crater Lake, for example, and you can download a PDF of the original atlas entry – a detailed two-page description of the lake, including statistics, travel information, and the lake’s fascinating geologic history.
The new online version takes advantage of mapping and graphic software and water quality databases that did not exist in the earlier version from 26 years ago.
“There were things we just couldn’t do then,” Lycan said. Changes also have happened in Oregon over the last quarter century, including land ownership surrounding some of the state’s lakes, the disappearance of some lakes due to the removal of dams, and the appearance of new ones.
The online atlas also pulls together, provides access to, and charts water quality data that is stored in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Pacific Northwest Water Quality Exchange (WQX) database. As new water quality data is entered into the WQX, the information will automatically be reflected in the water quality charts in the atlas.
The atlas also has photos, links to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recreational fishing web pages, links to the Oregon Marine Board facilities database, EPA National Lake Survey summary pages, and much more.
PSU groups that worked on the atlas were the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs, the Center for Spatial Analysis and Research, Academic Research and Computing, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs. The project was partially funded by the EPA, and was conducted in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and it provides every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Its downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability through green buildings and business practice. Sustainability is incorporated into much of PSU’s curriculum