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

Science Center Objects

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.

These maps, charts, and tables show the amount of total nitrogen and total phosphorus delivered to Pacific Coast estuaries and the contribution from upstream sources to those loads. The results come from the 2002 USGS SPARROW models developed for the Pacific Northwest and California.