Changes in Land Use/Management and Water Quality in the Long Creek Watershed
Journal of the American Society of Agronomy , 38 , 2002
Line, D. E.
Surface water in the Long Creek watershed, located in western Piedmont region of North Carolina, was monitored from 1993 to 2001. The 8,190 ha watershed has undergone considerable land use and management changes during this period. Land use surveys have documented a 60 percent decrease in cropland area and a more than 200 percent increase in areas being developed into new homes. In addition, more than 200 conservation practices have been applied to the cropland and other agricultural land that remains in production. The water quality of Long Creek was monitored by collecting grab samples at four sites along Long Creek and continuously monitoring discharge at one site. The monitoring has documented a 70 percent reduction in median total phosphorus (TP) concentrations, with little reductions in nitrate and total Kjeldahl nitrogen, or suspended sediment levels. Fecal coliform (FC) and streptococci (FS) levels declined significantly downstream as compared to upstream during the last four years of monitoring. This decrease was attributed to the implementation of waste management practices and livestock exclusion fencing on three dairy operations in the watershed. Annual rainfall and discharge increased steadily until peaking in the third year of the monitoring period and varied while generally decreasing during the last four years of the project. An array of observation, pollutant concentration, and hydrologic data provide considerable evidence to suggest that the implementation of BMPs in the watershed have significantly reduced phosphorus and bacteria levels in Long Creek.