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Project ID:2006SC29B

Title: A Statewide Sediment and Water Quality Approach to Characterize Pollution in Wadeable Streams of South Carolina

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: Third

Focus Categories: Water Quality, Sediments, Surface Water

Keywords: Conservation, Environmental Risk Assessment, Anthropogenic Indicators, Point Sources, Non-point Sources, Metals, PAHs

Principal Investigators: Carraway, Elizabeth R.; Klaine, Stephen ; Scott, Marc C.

Federal Funds: $30,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $81,656

Abstract: The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of the State of South Carolina was recently awarded a State Wildlife Grant to "conduct an assessment of wadeable streams to gather appropriate data that will allow SCDNR to design effective and efficient management strategies to protect, conserve, and restore the aquatic resources of the State." These landscape-level assessments are intended to provide us with the ability to understand causal pathways of threats to aquatic resources, communicate aquatic resource status and trends to interested stakeholders, and to recommend strategies for resource conservation at the planning stages of land management and development projects. Watersheds of appropriate size (i.e., those that drain to wadeable streams) will be sampling units stratified by unique combinations of ecoregion and major river basin in the state, called "ecobasins". The following parameters will be characterized within these 400 watersheds: point sources as measured by NPDES permits, nonpoint sources as measured by appropriate land use/land cover classes in entire basin and within riparian buffer, hydrological disruption as measured by impounded area. In each stream, selected measures of channel geomorphology and flow characteristics, water quality, and vertebrate and invertebrate community structure will be quantified. This sampling effort will take place over three years and result in one of the most comprehensive statewide assessments available.

By collaborating with DNR, we have a unique opportunity to augment this extensive effort with the determination of sediment and water quality characteristics specifically selected to indicate various types of anthropogenic activities. Through appropriate sampling, preservation, and chemical analyses (ICP-MS and GC-MS), a survey of selected metal and organic pollutants present in sediments and surface water will be completed. In addition, a parallel research proposal submitted to this program will examine several biomarkers in fish which provide biochemical measures of contaminant exposure and fish health. Combined, the three projects will result in an extensive database on 400 well-characterized watersheds across the state over three years of field sampling. The land use and hydrologic data coupled with sediment and water quality and biomarker measurements are expected to provide significant insight into the effects of anthropogenic activities on stream and fish health in all watersheds in South Carolina through comprehensive and coordinated efforts. Ultimately, the combined results of these parallel projects will contribute to management decisions and practices in South Carolina as well as provide watershed scale results for natural resource protection nationally and internationally.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 03, 2008
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