Land Use Effects on Water Quality
The WAWSC monitors and conducts research on how different types and intensities of land use, like urbanization, forestry and agriculture, affect water quality, as well as the effectiveness of measures designed to protect water quality in streams and lakes within basins with varying levels of human activity. Changes in the type and extent of land cover can result in some similar and unique changes in water chemistry. The WAWSC staff of hydrologist, chemists, biologist, remote sensing scientist and modelers utilizes state of the art real time and remote land cover methods and water chemistry and biological approaches to identify the role land use plays in influencing water quality. Water quality variables examined include such parameters as temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen as well as nutrients, pesticides, metals, pharmaceuticals, and organic compounds like PBDEs and PAHs. Staff scientists evaluate the relationships between these compounds, as well as recently developed compounds, with sophisticated mathematical models to inform resource managers and planners with the information they need to make effective decisions.