State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008KY105B
Title: Evaluation of short-term soil and nutrient loss following a prescribed burn in the Crooked Creek watershed
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: KY First
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Nutrients, Geochemical Processes
Keywords: erosion, nutrient transport, forest management
Principal Investigators: Kemp, Mike (Murray State University); Kellie, Andy
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 10,000
Abstract: The objective of this project is to provide baseline data for judging the extent of short-term erosion and nutrient transport as a result of prescribed burns conducted for forest management in the Crooked Creek watershed in western Kentucky. Data will provide an indication of potential nutrient transport via burned vegetation and soils, pre- and post-burn water quality conditions relative to macronutrients, turbidity, and suspended solids, and the change in water quality over a two month period following the prescribed burn. Potential effects include an increase both in sediment and nutrient transport, especially during the short term while vegetation is re-established. Prior to the burn, understory vegetation and surface soil samples will be collected from 10 locations in the area to be burned. Four sampling locations will also be identified that can be used to assess water quality within the burn area (a tributary), immediately downstream from the burn area (also a tributary), and upstream and downstream of the burn area on the main stem of Crooked Creek. A fifth sampling station will be identified away from the burn area for background conditions. The water samples will be analyzed for nitrate nitrogen, orthophosphate, and total suspended solids. Field measurements during each water sampling event will include conductivity, turbidity, pH, temperature, and volumetric flow rate. Maps and/or aerial photographs showing the watershed and prescribed burn areas, sampling locations, field and laboratory analytical results, statistical interpretations, and conclusions and recommendations relative to soil and nutrient transport from the prescribed burn area will be prepared.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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