Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Architecture, Civil Engineering, Surveying
: Coastal watersheds in the southeastern United States are rapidly changing due to population growth and attendant increases in residential development, industry, and tourism related commerce. This research examined spatial and temporal patterns of nutrient concentrations in streams from 10 small watersheds (〈 4 km2) that drain into Murrells Inlet (impacted) and North Inlet (pristine), two high salinity estuaries along the South Carolina coast. Monthly grab samples were collected during baseflow during 1999 and analyzed for total and dissolved inorganic and organic forms of nitrogen and phosphorus. Data were grouped into forested wetland creeks (representing predevelopment reference sites), urban creeks, and urban ponds. DON and NH4 concentrations were greater in forested streams than in urban streams. NO3 and TP concentrations were greatest in urban streams. Seasonally, concentrations were highest during summer for TN, NH4, DON, and TP, while NO3 concentrations were greatest during winter. Nutrient ratios clearly highlighted the reduction in organic nitrogen due to coastal development. Multiple regression models to predict instream nutrient concentrations from land use in Murrells Inlet suggest that effects are not significant (small r2). The findings indicate that broad land use/land cover classes cannot be used to predict nutrient concentrations in streams in the very small watersheds in our study areas.
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