Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams

Date:
March 20, 2013
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
For the first time, a study has compared water quality trends in forested streams across the U.S. that are largely undisturbed by land use or land cover changes.

A researcher gathers stream data at Mack Creek, on the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.
Credit: Tom Iraci, U.S. Forest Service

For the first time, a study has compared water quality trends in forested streams across the country that are largely undisturbed by land use or land cover changes.

The study, which draws on decades' worth of data from reference streams in six U.S. states and Puerto Rico, underscores the value of long-term data in understanding the patterns and causes of water quality changes in streams and rivers. It is published in the current issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters.

" Much of what we know about changes in stream water quality comes from studies where basins have been impacted by human activity," said Alba Argerich, a postdoctoral research associate with Oregon State University and the study's lead author. "Our work intentionally focused on relatively undisturbed streams, the very reference sites that serve as benchmarks for evaluating water quality trends."

In the study, Argerich and colleagues analyzed concentrations of stream nitrogen, which, despite regulations, have been on the rise across the country as energy and food production release reactive forms of the compound into waterways. Once there, reactive nitrogen -- nitrate and ammonium -- can alter stream function and cause substantial changes in stream communities.

The study focused on sites that are part of the USDA Forest Service's Experimental Forest and Range network, a system of 80 locations across the country that provide settings for long-term science and management studies. Many of the sites have long-term monitoring programs and data sets spanning decades and so provide unique opportunities to evaluate long-term trends.

" These long-term water quality data from experimental forests are a treasure," said Sherri Johnson, a research ecologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and a co-author of the study. "Some sites have over 40 years of weekly data."

The researchers analyzed 559 years of stream nitrate and 523 years of stream ammonium data from 22 streams in 7 experimental forests across the country. They found that even these near-pristine forested streams are subject to change, as stream nitrate has declined in the Pacific Northwest, in the Northeast, and in Puerto Rico, but has increased in the Mountain West and the South. They also observed that, within a forest, trends were not always in sync -- at some sites, two streams within an experimental forest had opposing trends for the same type of nitrogen for the same period of time, suggesting that the controls on stream nitrogen concentrations may vary among and within sites.

" Understanding how nutrient concentrations are changing over time in reference streams is vital for informing best management practices that are aimed at protecting water resources," Argerich said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A Argerich, S L Johnson, S D Sebestyen, C C Rhoades, E Greathouse, J D Knoepp, M B Adams, G E Likens, J L Campbell, W H McDowell, F N Scatena, G G Ice. Trends in stream nitrogen concentrations for forested reference catchments across the USA. Environmental Research Letters, 2013; 8 (1): 014039 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/014039

Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320095427.htm>.
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2013, March 20). Long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320095427.htm
USDA Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320095427.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins