State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2012VI220B
Title: Terrestrial Sediment Delivery and Nearshore Water Turbidity - A Case Study From the East End of St. Croix, USVI
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/29/2013
Congressional District: Not Applicable
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Sediments, Water Quality
Keywords: Sedimentation, erosion, water quality, turbidity, US Virgin Islands
Principal Investigators: Reale-Munroe, Kynoch (University of the Virgin Islands); Castillo, Bernard Fernando (University of the Virgin Islands); Ramos-Scharron, Carlos E (Univ. of Texas-Austin)
Federal Funds: $ 21,007
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 0
Abstract: Water quality plays a critical role in maintaining biological integrity and preserving natural resources in aquatic ecosystems. In October 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a list of impaired and threatened waters in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) that are targeted for the development of future Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits in the territory. The most common reported causes of impairment in near-shore waters were sedimentation, effluent discharges, dissolved oxygen (DO) deficiencies and bacterial contamination. Of the 33 listed sites for St. Croix, 28 or 85% of the reported impairments were associated with high turbidity. The two main objectives of this study are: (1) to link rainfall events to terrestrial erosion data and turbidity concentrations in the receiving water column and (2) to characterize the nature and extent of turbidity during ambient and sedimentation events for potential TMDL development. This proposed study would attempt to link quantitative data obtained from previous studies to the resulting effect on water quality as sediment enters the bay. These analyses would be beneficial to the better development of TMDL limits based on thorough, high-resolution data.

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