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Watershed scale assessment of the impact of forested riparian zones on stream water qualityAuthor(s): J. A. Webber; K. W. J. Williard; M. R. Whiles; M. L. Stone; J. J. Zaczek; D. K. Davie
Source: In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, Jeffery O.; Ponder Jr., Felix; Loewenstein, Edward F.; Fralish, James S., eds. Proceedings of the 13th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station: 114-120
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: North Central Research Station
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DescriptionFederal and state land management agencies have been promoting forest and grass riparian zones to combat non-point source nutrient and sediment pollution of our nations' waters. The majority of research examining the effectiveness of riparian buffers at reducing nutrient and sediment inputs to streams has been conducted at the field scale. This study took a broader watershed approach in assessing the stream water quality benefits of forested riparian buffer zones. Stream nitrate, orthophosphate, and ammonium concentrations were compared in 11 agriculturally impacted watersheds with varying percentages of riparian forest area. The study catchments are located in the Sugar Creek watershed in southern Illinois and contain similar soil types and land uses (predominately row crop agriculture). The Geographic Information System software, ArcView 3.2 (ESRI), was used to delineate the Percent Forested Area in the Riparian Buffer Zone (PFARBZ), within 15 m of the stream across the total length of the 1st and 2nd order streams within each catchment. Stream water samples were collected at baseflow over a 9-month period for nutrient analysis. Preliminary results suggest that watersheds with greater PFARBZ have lower dissolved stream PO4-3-P concentrations. However, no significant relationship was found between PFARBZ and dissolved stream NH4+-N and NO3-N concentrations.
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CitationWebber, J. A.; Williard, K. W. J.; Whiles, M. R.; Stone, M. L.; Zaczek, J. J.; Davie, D. K. 2003. Watershed scale assessment of the impact of forested riparian zones on stream water quality. In: Van Sambeek, J. W.; Dawson, Jeffery O.; Ponder Jr., Felix; Loewenstein, Edward F.; Fralish, James S., eds. Proceedings of the 13th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-234. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Research Station: 114-120
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