Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems (EUSE) Study Basin Ecology

Science Center Objects

How do the hydrologic, geomorphic, chemical, and biological characteristics of stream ecosystems respond to land-use changes associated with urbanization, and how do these responses vary across environmental settings?

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:

  1. Determine the hydrological, geomorphic, chemical, habitat, and biological characteristics that respond to land-use changes associated with urbanization in specific environmental settings.

  2. Determine the most important landscape features influencing hydrological, chemical, geomorphic, habitat, and ecological responses to urbanization.

  3. Compare the hydrological, geomorphic, chemical, habitat, and biological responses to urbanization among a range of environmental settings.

  4. Determine the physical and chemical factors associated with biological responses and compare these physical and chemical factors across environmental settings.

  5. Develop empirical models to relate physical, chemical, and biological responses to landscape features associated with urbanization.

An investigation of the urban crescent from Raleigh to Winston-Salem N.C. is underway to study the relation between varying levels of urban intensity in drainage basins and in-stream water quality, measured by physical, chemical, and biological factors. Water quality has been sampled in 30 drainage basins that have similar natural (e.g., climate, elevation, soils) characteristics and represent a gradient of urban intensity.

The urban intensity of each basin is measured using an index that integrates information about the multiple dimensions of human influence on the urban landscape at the drainage basin scale. The index includes information about land cover, infrastructure, population, and socioeconomic characteristics. Some of the variables used in the index may also be important factors for explaining variations in water quality.

The gradient design used in the NAWQA Program to investigate the effects of urbanization is premised on two perspectives about water-quality.

First, instream water-quality is a composite of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics that are influenced by natural factors and by the human activities. Biological communities reflect the integration of these influences.

Second, landscape and stream characteristics reflect both the physical context of a basin and human influences. The character of the urban residential landscape, for example, can vary dramatically as socioeconomic factors - income, age of housing stock, levels of education - change among neighborhoods.

Investigation of the effects of urbanization on water quality must control for the effects of natural factors, while allowing the degree of urbanization to vary between study basins. By narrowing the focus the study to a single ecoregion, the North Carolina Piedmont, the investigation used a regional framework that enforces a measure of control over variability in natural factors that influence water-quality.

The data collected at streams in the study included nutrients, pesticides, and ions in stream water, geomorphic and habitat characteristics, hydrologic stage, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, benthic algae and invertebrate communities, and fish communities.

Urban Landuse Gradient Sampling Sites for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Water Quality Assessment Program

Urban Landuse Gradient Sampling Sites for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Water Quality Assessment Program

(Public domain.)

 

Watershed Site Information

Map No. Water Quality Data Site No. Site Name Location Latitude Longitude
1 statistics 0211583580 Bowen Branch near mouth at Winston-Salem, NC Bowen Branch Tributary near Bowen Road 36°07'05" 80°12'46"
2 statistics 02099480 Richland Creek near Archdale, NC Richland Creek at Kersy Valley Road SR 1154 35°56'28" 79°55'56"
3 statistics 02099238 Bull Run at NC 29/70 near Jamestown, NC Bull Run on High Point Road or Vickery Chapel Road 35°59'53" 79°55'36"
4 statistics 0209517912 North Buffalo Creek at Greensboro, NC Unnamed Tributary at Green Valley Parkway 36°05'21" 79°49'44"
5 statistics 02100294 Hasketts Creek below SR 2149 near Central Falls, NC Hasketts Creek at SR 2128 Wow Road 35°46'04" 79°46'44"
6 statistics 02100634 Vestal Creek near Asheboro, NC Vestal Creek at Pine Hill Road SR 2824 Asheboro 35°39'33" 79°46'37"
7 statistics 0209665940 Rock Creek Tributary at Stoney Creek Golf Course near Sedalia, NC Unnamed Tributary to Rock Creek 36°03'54" 79°35'58"
8 statistics 0209665990 Rock Creek above Rock Creek Tributary near Whitsett, NC Rock Creek at Hwy 70 near Gibsonville 36°03'57" 79°35'58"
9 statistics 0209647280 Service Creek above Dry Creek at Burlington, NC Service Creek upstream from confluence with Dry Creek 36°06'34" 79°24'09"
10 statistics 0209647295 Dry Creek above Service Creek at Burlington, NC Dry Creek upstream from confluence with Service Creek 36°06'32" 79°24'12"
11 statistics 0209651815 Branch Creek below NC 54 near Graham, NC Unnamed Tributary to Haw at Hwy 54 Burlinton 36°03'30" 79°22'42"
12 statistics 0209679804 Little Alamance Creek at SR 2309 near Graham, NC Little Alamance Creek S. Graham Municipal Park 36°02'10" 79°24'37"
13 statistics 02085430 Deep Creek near Moriah, NC Deep Creek at SR 1734 36°14'25" 78°53'20"
14 statistics 02081190 Tar River near Berea, NC Tar River at Hwy 158 36°20'03" 78°46'03"
15 statistics 02081510 Foundry Branch at mouth near Oxford, NC Fishing Creek at Knotts Grove Road 36°16'41" 78°35'22"
16 statistics 0208501535 Strouds Creek at St. Mary's Road near Hillsborough, NC Tributary to Eno at St. Mary's Road (near Hillsborough) 36°05'15" 79°03'53"
17 statistics 0208500600 Cates Creek near Hillsborough, NC Tributary to Eno Creek at Bus. 70, Hillsborough 36°03'55" 79°05'14"
18 statistics 02097464 Morgan Creek near White Cross, NC Morgan Creek at Rt. 54 (west of Chapel Hill) 35°55'25" 79°06'56"
19 statistics 02097355 Bolin Creek above Franklin Street near Chapel Hill, NC Bolin Creek at Franklin Street & Estes Drive 35°55'38" 79°02'18"
20 statistics 0209750881 Wilson Creek at mouth near Chapel Hill, NC Wilson Creek at Culbreth Drive 35°53'30" 79°03'40"
21 statistics 0209695780 Brooks Creek at Eddie Perry Road near Bynum, NC Brooks Creek at Eddie Perry Road 35°46'34" 79°10'04"
22 statistics 0209697900 Pokeberry Creek near Pittsboro, NC Pokeberry Creek at Bynum Ridge Road 35°46'28" 79°07'13"
23 statistics 0208726995 Hare Snipe Creek Tributary at SR 1822 near Leesville, NC Hare Snipe Creek Tributary at SR 1822 near Leesville 35°52'30" 78°41'44"
24 statistics 0208725055 Black Creek at Weston Parkway near Cary, NC Black Creek at Weston Parkway, Cary 35°49'48" 78°47'10"
25 statistics 0208726370 Richlands Creek at Schenck Forest near Cary, NC Richland Creek off Ebenezer Church Road 35°50'02" 78°43'12"
26 statistics 02087304 Beaverdam Creek at Glenwood Avenue at Raleigh, NC Beaverdam Creek at Glenwood Road, Raleigh 35°48'56" 78°39'41"
27 statistics 0208732610 Pigeon House Branch at Crabtree Blvd at Raleigh, NC Pigeon House Creek at Crabtree Blvd. 35°48'25" 78°36'50"
28 statistics 02087580 Swift Creek near Apex, NC Swift Creek at Holly Springs Road 35°43'07" 78°45'09"
29 statistics 0208758440 Dutchmans Branch at SR 1386 near McCullers, NC Duthchman's Branch at Graham Newton Road 35°41'32" 78°44'07"
30 statistics 0208794555 Camp Branch above SR 1390 near Holly Springs, NC Camp Branch at Optimist Farm Road 35°39'44" 78°46'12"

Biological Richness Information

Fish Species Richness, North Carolina 2005

Fish Species Richness, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Richness, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Richness, North Carolina 2005

Algae Species Richness, North Carolina 2005

Algae Species Richness, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Richness EPT, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Richness EPT, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Tolerance, North Carolina 2005

Macroinvertebrate Tolerance, North Carolina 2005

Map No Station ID Watershed Name Area (sq km) Fish Taxa Richness Algae Taxa Richness Invert Taxa Richness Invert EPTR Invert avg Tolerance ULUG Urban Index
        Distribution Map Distribution Map Distribution Map Distribution Map Distribution Map  
1 0211583580 Bowen Branch near mouth at Winston-Salem, NC 5.0 3 53 30 2 6.5108 85.1
2 02099480 Richland Creek near Archdale, NC 32.7 10 67 53 9 5.9767 56.8
3 02099238 Bull Run at NC 29/70 near Jamestown, NC 17.9 11 80 58 10 6.1791 51.8
4 0209517912 North Buffalo Creek at Greensboro, NC 12.6 13 60 38 3 7.1798 85.6
5 02100294 Hasketts Creek below Penwood Branch near Asheboro, NC 30.4 8 64 54 6 7.0304 41.9
6 02100634 Vestal Creek near Asheboro, NC 16.5 13 59 61 10 6.2465 27.9
7 0209665940 Rock Creek Tributary at Stoney Creek Golf Course near Sedalia, NC 11.6 10 70 72 20 5.5022 12.2
8 0209665990 Rock Creek above Rock Creek Tributary near Whitsett, NC 26.0 11 76 68 14 5.4956 3.9
9 0209679804 Little Alamance Creek at SR 2309 near Graham, NC 37.3 16 78 47 4 6.5398 64.4
10 0209647280 Service Creek above Dry Creek at Burlington, NC 12.7 15 69 53 8 6.4113 49.3
11 0209647295 Dry Creek above Service Creek at Burlington, NC 6.5 15 66 46 4 6.9557 89.2
12 0209651815 Branch Creek below NC 54 near Graham, NC 4.9 8 62 49 3 6.7874 76.4
13 02085430 Deep Creek near Moriah, NC 82.5 19 55 53 18 5.0600 2.0
14 02081190 Tar River near Berea, NC 66.3 21 75 68 17 5.7681 0.0
15 0208151000 Foundry Branch at mouth near Oxford, NC 12.6 14 85 45 5 6.8783 38.9
16 0208501535 Strouds Creek at St. Mary's Rd near Hillsborough, NC 23.2 18 57 72 22 5.5144 7.2
17 0208500600 Cates Creek near Hillsborough, NC 10.9 15 62 57 15 5.6532 14.5
18 02097464 Morgan Creek near White Cross, NC 21.5 12 61 81 19 5.6708 4.9
19 02097355 Bolin Creek above Franklin Street near Chapel Hill, NC 29.8 21 70 39 7 5.9533 42.5
20 0209750881 Wilson Creek at mouth near Chapel Hill, NC 9.2 14 73 45 8 5.3905 24.1
21 0209697900 Pokeberry Creek near Pittsboro, NC 29.8 16 70 62 16 5.3828 4.4
22 0209695780 Brooks Creek at Eddie Perry Road near Bynum, NC 23.9 23 55 64 15 5.3480 2.1
23 0208726995 Hare Snipe Creek Tributary at SR 1822 near Leesville, NC 16.0 18 67 46 5 6.5456 73.6
24 0208725055 Black Creek at Weston Parkway near Cary, NC 9.0 13 49 61 8 6.7420 79.6
25 0208726370 Richlands Creek at Schenck Forest near Cary, NC 11.2 11 58 34 3 6.4614 33.2
26 02087304 Southwest Prong Beaverdam Creek at Raleigh, NC 8.0 9 57 40 2 6.6075 90.8
27 0208732610 Pigeon House Creek at Crabtree Blvd at Raleigh, NC 11.4 18 49 31 2 6.8802 100.0
28 02087580 Swift Creek near Apex, NC 54.3 15 43 57 8 6.7420 58.5
29 0208758440 Dutchmans Branch at SR 1386 near McCullers Crossroads, NC 11.7 15 64 51 8 5.9404 28.6
30 0208794025 Camp Branch at SR 1390 near Holly Springs, NC 5.5 16 86 51 10 5.8045 12.9