SPARROW Model Assessments of Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Pacific Northwest and California

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SPARROW can be used to relate water-quality data to landscape characteristics, such as natural properties and human activities

We are using the USGS SPARROW model (Spatially Related Regressions On Watershed Attributes) to understand patterns in water-quality across the Pacific Northwest and California by relating those patterns to natural processes and anthropogenic activities. SPARROW is a hybrid statistical and mechanistic model for estimating where contaminants (such as nutrients and suspended sediment) are generated within a watershed and how they are transported to downstream receiving waters. A calibrated SPARROW model can predict water-quality conditions in areas where no water-quality data exists as well as show the relative contribution to in-stream load from different sources and locations within a watershed. We have published streamflow, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and suspended sediment SPARROW models that cover the Pacific Northwest and California.