Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Water Quality Assessment in Sub-Basins of North Alabama.

Karnita Golson-Garner1, Teferi Tsegaye2, Paul Okweye2, Tommy Coleman1, and Wubishet Tadesse1. (1) Alabama A & M Univ, Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, P.O. Box 1208, Normal, AL 35762, (2) Alabama A & M Univ, Dept. of Plant & Soil Science, P.O. Box 1208, Normal, AL 35762

Integrated use of in-stream water quality data serves as a great tool for evaluating the potential effects of urbanization on both the soil and water quality of North Alabama. To date, rapid intensification of land use is causing severe degradation of Alabama’s rivers and streams. Notably, as the percentage of urban land use increases within a watershed, so does the prevalence of nutrients, pesticides, trace metals and organic compounds washed into their waterways.  The Indian Creek and Huntsville Spring Branch watersheds, which are located in Madison County, provide an excellent opportunity to observe trends in water quality. The objectives of this study were to 1) examine and compare water quality indicator parameters in these two watersheds and 2) to investigate the effects of land use/land cover variations on pollutant levels in both watersheds. Results indicated that there were differences observed for the indicator parameters that were assessed. Intensified duration of rainfall and land use cover type had significant impacts on the observations. The findings from this study will assist in filling an existing gap in knowledge, and allow environmental agencies to improve management decision plans and develop meaningful guidelines for the management of the watersheds.