Combinations of phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon were added to several small lakes in northwestern Ontario, Canada, at rates similar to those in many culturally eutrophied lakes. Phosphate and nitrate caused rapid eutrophication. A similar result was obtained with phosphate, ammonia, and sucrose, but recovery was almost immediate when phosphate additions only were discontinued. When two basins of one lake were fertilized with equal amounts of nitrate and sucrose, and phosphorus was also added to one of the basins, the phosphate-enriched basin quickly became highly eutrophic, while the basin receiving only nitrogen and carbon remained at prefertilization conditions. These results, and the high affinity of sediments for phosphorus indicate that rapid abatement of eutrophication may be expected to follow phosphorus control measures.