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Quantitative biological assessment protocols are needed for monitoring river status and evaluating river rehabilitation efforts. We conducted a standardized macroinvertebrate survey at 100 sites on 38 nonwadeable rivers in Wisconsin to construct, test, and apply an index of biotic integrity (IBI) intended to be such a bioassessment tool. We assigned independent samples to IBI development (n = 75) and IBI validation (n = 25) data sets. We placed Hester–Dendy artificial substrates at the sites for 6 wk and processed the samples of colonizing macroinvertebrates in the laboratory with a 500-target subsampling procedure plus a large–rare taxon search. Independent of the biota, we assigned an environmental disturbance...
Abstract: Increasing concerns regarding water quality in the Great Lakes region are mainly due to changes in urban and agricultural landscapes. Both point and non-point sources contribute pollution to Great Lakes surface waters. Best management practices (BMPs) are a common tool used to reduce both point and non-point source pollution and improve water quality. Meanwhile, identification of critical source areas of pollution and placement of BMPs plays an important role in pollution reduction. The goal of this study is to evaluate the performance of different targeting methods in 1) identifying priority areas (high, medium, and low) based on various factors such as pollutant concentration, load, and yield, 2) comparing...
Extensive land-use changes in Iowa have increased erosional processes and the amount of fines deposited on stream beds. Large amounts of fines cover the other bed substrate that are essential habitat for invertebrates and fish. In Iowa and other agricultural Midwestern states, riparian conservation land-uses are being established to minimize sediment inputs to streams. This study compared stream bed substrate composition in reaches adjacent to: riparian forest buffers, grass filters, row-cropped fields, pastures with cattle fenced out of the stream and continuous, rotational and intensively grazed rotational pastures, in three regions of Iowa. The objective was to examine the impacts of the adjacent riparian land-uses...
The U.S. Geological Survey Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) model was applied to basins in 14 different hydroclimatic regions to determine the sensitivity and variability of the freshwater resources of the United States in the face of current climate-change projections. Rather than attempting to choose a most likely scenario from the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an ensemble of climate simulations from five models under three emissions scenarios each was used to drive the basin models. Climate-change scenarios were generated for PRMS by modifying historical precipitation and temperature inputs; mean monthly climate change was derived by calculating changes in mean climates...
Nonpoint-source pollution of fresh waters by P is a concern because it contributes to accelerated eutrophication. Given the state of the science concerning agricultural P transport, a simple tool to quantify annual, field-scale P loss is a realistic goal. We developed new methods to predict annual dissolved P loss in runoff from surface-applied manures and fertilizers and validated the methods with data from 21 published field studies. We incorporated these manure and fertilizer P runoff loss methods into an annual, field-scale P loss quantification tool that estimates dissolved and particulate P loss in runoff from soil, manure, fertilizer, and eroded sediment. We validated the P loss tool using independent data...
Spatial and temporal mismatches between coarse resolution projections of global climate models (GCMs) and fine resolution data requirements of ecosystems models are the major obstacles for assessing the site-specific climatic impacts of climate change on natural resources and ecosystems. The objectives of this study were to: (i) develop a simple method for statistically downscaling GCM monthly output at the native GCM grid scale to station-scale using transfer functions, and (ii) further demonstrate the site-specific impact assessment of climate change on water resources, soil erosion, and crop production at Kingfisher, OK, US using the water erosion prediction project (WEPP) model. Monthly precipitation and temperature...
Reducing non-point source phosphorus (P) pollution is often necessary to improve water quality in agricultural streams. Soil total P (TP) concentrations and compaction are soil characteristics that can influence P losses to streams. The objective of this study was to compare these two soil characteristics among riparian forest buffers, grass filters, pastures with cattle fenced out of the stream, intensive rotational, rotational and continuously grazed pastures and row-cropped fields in three physiographic regions of Iowa. Soil TP and compaction for the seven riparian land-uses were determined in stream bank and surface riparian soils. Total P concentrations in stream bed material along the seven riparian land-uses...
[1] The increased use of nitrogen fertilizer in the Mississippi River Basin since the 1950s has been blamed for declining water quality, the degradation of aquatic ecosystems and the growth of a seasonal hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In this study, we use the IBIS terrestrial ecosystem model and the HYDRA aquatic transport model to examine how agricultural practices and climate influenced terrestrial and aquatic nitrogen cycling across the Mississippi Basin and the nitrate export to the Gulf. The modeling system accurately depicts the observed trends and interannual variability in nitrate export by the Mississippi River (r2 > 0.83), and several of the major tributaries, between 1960 and 1994. The challenge...
Assessing the accuracy of agronomic and water quality simulation models in different soils, land-use systems, and environments provides a basis for using and improving these models. We evaluated the performance of the ADAPT model for simulating riverine nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) export from a 1500-km2 watershed in central Illinois, where approximately 85% of the land is used for maize-soybean production and tile drainage is common. Soil chemical properties, crop nitrogen (N) uptake coefficient, dry matter ratio, and a denitrification reduction coefficient were used as calibration parameters to optimize the fit between measured and simulated NO3-N load from the watershed for the 1989 to 1993 period. The applicability...
Renewable fuel production, particularly grain-based ethanol, is expanding rapidly in the USA. Although subsidized grain-based ethanol may provide a competitively priced transportation fuel, concerns exist about potential environmental impacts. This contribution focuses on potential water quality implications of expanded grain-based ethanol production and potential impacts of perennial-grass–based cellulosic ethanol. Expanded grain-based ethanol will increase and intensify corn production. Even with recommended fertilizer and land conservation measures, corn acreage can be a major source of N loss to water (20–40 kg ha-1 yr-1). A greater acreage of corn is estimated to increase N and P loss to water by 37% (117 million...
Whitefish Lake, which is officially named Bardon Lake, is an oligotrophic, soft-water seepage lake in northwestern Wisconsin, and classified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an Outstanding Resource Water. Ongoing monitoring of the lake demonstrated that its water quality began to degrade (increased phosphorus and chlorophyll a concentrations) around 2002 following a period of high water level. To provide a better understanding of what caused the degradation in water quality, and provide information to better understand the lake and protect it from future degradation, the U.S. Geological Survey did a detailed study from 2004 to 2008. The goals of the study were to describe the past and present...
Abstract (from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174045): Several studies have projected increases in drought severity, extent and duration in many parts of the world under climate change. We examine sources of uncertainty arising from the methodological choices for the assessment of future drought risk in the continental US (CONUS). One such uncertainty is in the climate models’ expression of evaporative demand (E0), which is not a direct climate model output but has been traditionally estimated using several different formulations. Here we analyze daily output from two CMIP5 GCMs to evaluate how differences in E0 formulation, treatment of meteorological driving data, choice of GCM,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Drought, Drought, North Central CASC
Streamflow declines on the Great Plains of the US are causing many Federal reservoirs to become profoundly inefficient, and will eventually drive them into unsustainability as negative annual reservoir water budgets become more common. The streamflow declines are historically related to groundwater mining, but since the mid-1980s correlate increasingly with climate. This study highlights that progression toward unsustainability, and shows that future climate change will continue streamflow declines at historical rates, with severe consequences for surface water supply. An object lesson is Optima Lake in the Oklahoma Panhandle, where streamflows have declined 99% since the 1960s and the reservoir has never been more...