The term organic matter refers to the remnants of all living material. This can include fallen leaves, yard waste, animal waste, downed timber, or the remains of any other plant and animal life. Organic matter is abundant both on land and in water. Investigating organic matter is necessary for understanding the fate and transport of carbon (a major constituent of organic matter).
Organic matter is necessary for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. It participates in a wide range of ecological functions, such as supplying food to the microbes that are part of the foundation of the food chain. Organic matter also plays a role in many other natural functions, including the binding and transport of some trace metals and controlling how light is absorbed in the water column. Organic matter in a stream can be found in many places, such as in the leaves that have fallen from a tree (termed "leaf litter"), in algae floating in the stream or attached to rocks, as part of the soil, or even suspended or dissolved in the water.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Clean Water Services, recently completed an investigation into the sources, transport, and fate of organic matter in the Fanno Creek watershed. The information provided by this investigation will help resource managers to implement strategies aimed at decreasing the excess supply of organic matter that contributes to low dissolved-oxygen levels in Fanno Creek and downstream in the Tualatin River during summer. This fact sheet summarizes the findings of the investigation.
|Title||Organic matters: investigating the sources, transport, and fate of organic matter in Fanno Creek, Oregon|
|Authors||Steven Sobieszczyk, Mackenzie K. Keith, Jami H. Goldman, Stewart A. Rounds|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Fact Sheet|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Oregon Water Science Center|