Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012VI220B

Terrestrial Sediment Delivery and Nearshore Water Turbidity A Case Study From the East End of St. Croix, USVI

Institute: Virgin Islands
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $21,007 Total Non-Federal Funds: Not available

Principal Investigators: Kynoch Reale-Munroe, Bernard Castillo, Carlos Ramos-Scharron

Abstract: Water quality plays a critical role in maintaining biological integrity and preserving natural resources in aquatic ecosystems. In October 2010 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.