Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Even a Mile of Forest Makes a Difference in Water Quality

31.01.2006


Chattooga River in the Nantahala National Forest, NC. Photo Credit: Bill Lea


Results from a small-scale experiment in western North Carolina illustrate the importance of National Forest lands in ensuring high water quality in the Southern Appalachian region. Conducted by scientists from the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), the study, published in the January 2006 issue of the journal Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, showed that the quality of water in streams from an area heavily affected by urbanization was significantly improved by its passage through streams flowing in undeveloped forested areas.

For the experiment, Jim Vose and Barry Clinton, researchers from the SRS Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, NC, located a setting where a stream carried water from a small town into a fork of the Chattooga River while passing through National Forest land. They set up three sampling sites: the first below the town where the stream enters the National Forest, the second about a mile further down where the stream (now a fork of the Chattooga River) exits the National Forest, and the third reference site on a small, undisturbed stream which lies entirely in the National Forest.

"There’s a waste treatment facility a little over half a mile up from where the stream enters the National Forest," says Clinton. "We chose the first sampling site to pick up the cumulative effects of wastewater treatment and other non-point pollution sources such as housing developments, stormwater runoff, and roads."



Samples were collected weekly for over a year using automated samplers. Data was collected on water chemistry and total suspended solids, particles that range from soil to various types of organic matter. Coming from a wide range of sources, these solids increase after storms, the proportion of this increase one indication of conditions around a stream. The researchers also collected streamwater samples from all the sites to determine bacterial populations.

Findings showed a definite "cleaning" affect on the stream from passing through just a mile of National Forest, with evidence of significant reductions in concentrations of chemicals such as nitrates, ammonium, and phosphorous. In response to storms, total suspended solids increased to a higher level at the urban sampling site and stayed higher longer, probably due to more impervious surfaces and land disturbances that increase sediment loading into streams. Bacterial populations did not change much between the two sites, and, though differing greatly from those at the reference site, were well below standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Factors affecting water quality vary so greatly across landscapes, and we advise caution in applying the specific results of this study to all situations," says Vose. "But the patterns we observed do fit with those found in other studies, and suggest that stream sections in undeveloped forests can improve water quality in areas where the headwaters have been heavily affected by urbanization or other land uses."

For more information:
Barry Clinton at 828-524-2188 x124 or bclinton@fs.fed.us
Jim Vose at 828-524-2188 x114 or jvose@fs.fed.us

Barry Clinton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fs.fed.us
http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/21656

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>