Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014DE267B

Investigation of Nitrogen Pollution in a Mixed Land-Use Watershed

Institute: Delaware
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-06-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $3,500 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,402

Principal Investigators: Luc Claessens

Abstract: Agriculture and urbanization can have a severely harmful effect on aquatic ecosystems. There is growing recognition that water quality impacts need to be reduced, and best management practices are promoted to reduce watershed nitrogen export. Achieving cost-effective reductions in nitrogen export first requires an understanding of the sources of nitrogen loading. To gain a complete understanding of nitrogen loads requires repeated sampling across land-use (spatial) and flow regimes (temporal). This is the objective of this project, which is geared toward the development of cost-effective approaches for reducing watershed nutrient export. The project is focused on the West Branch of the Red Clay Creek and surrounding watersheds. This is one of the most polluted areas of the Christina River basin, a major drinking water source for the state of Delaware. As part of our project we are employing a state-of-the-art water quality continuous sensor, together with sampling of spatio-temporal patterns of nitrogen loading, geospatial analysis and watershed models. The study involves a field investigation of nitrogen export across land-use and flow regimes. The specific, key objective of this study is to gain a detailed understanding of the variation of nitrogen export across land-use (spatial) and flow regimes (temporal).