Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018AR404B

Quantifying flow sources and their impacts on water quality in forested Ozark streams

Institute: Arkansas
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $10,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $20,002

Principal Investigators: Michelle Evans-White, Allyn Dodd, Erik Pollock

Abstract: Currently, little information is available in Arkansas to address the influence of flow regime on the spatial and temporal extent that pollutants may be mitigated by dilution with groundwater inputs. This is critical for freshwater conservation, as understanding the nutrient buffering capacity of streams in our state and variation in water quality lays the foundation for better water resource management. We propose to determine how various basin areas contribute to surface flow, water chemistry, and nutrient concentrations over time and a range of discharges. Our work will address how well flow classifications and, in turn, ecoregions characterize flow contributions and water quality in northern Arkansas. We will utilize water chemistry and hydrologic field data to confirm distinctions between groundwater and surface water-dominated modeled flow regime classifications. This will allow us to determine how water quality and nutrient additions may affect streams based on differences in flow sources over time and a range of discharges using trace element analyses and end-member mixing analysis. We will monitor water quality parameters including conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. We will also monitor concentrations of P and N, inorganic and organic carbon species, and whole-stream metabolism to examine potential relationships between flow sources and nutrient/carbon dynamics.