Title

The Relationships Between Rural Land Covers And Water Chemistry Under Base Flow Conditions In The South Carolina Piedmont

Author(s)

Emily Navin

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Environmental Science

Presentation Type

Mentored

Mentor

Mentor: Greg Lewis, Department of Biology, Furman University

Written Paper Award

1st Place

Abstract

Relatively few studies have examined the influence of rural land covers, such as pasture or row crops, on stream water quality in the Southeastern Piedmont region of the United States. During the summer of 2014 water samples were collected from rural areas in the Savannah, Saluda, and Enoree River watersheds in South Carolina. Fourteen streams draining watersheds with pasture, forest, and row crop land covers were sampled. This study measured pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature in the field, and collected water samples for both turbidity and chemical analyses. Using a land cover database, the percent pasture and the percent crop cover for each site was determined, which was later used in statistical tests. Specific conductance did not differ significantly between sites with and without crops. However, specific conductance correlated negatively with elevation of the sampling sites. Turbidity was significantly higher at crop sites than non-crop sites. Contrary to expectations, no significant correlation between turbidity and percent pasture was found. Crop sites had a significantly higher median nitrate concentration than non-crop sites. Among sites with no crops, nitrate concentrations correlated positively with percent pasture. Overall, these relationships suggest that row crop land cover has greater effects on stream water quality than does pasture land cover in the Southeastern Piedmont.

Start Date

4-11-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

4-11-2015 10:15 AM

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 10:00 AM Apr 11th, 10:15 AM

The Relationships Between Rural Land Covers And Water Chemistry Under Base Flow Conditions In The South Carolina Piedmont

Relatively few studies have examined the influence of rural land covers, such as pasture or row crops, on stream water quality in the Southeastern Piedmont region of the United States. During the summer of 2014 water samples were collected from rural areas in the Savannah, Saluda, and Enoree River watersheds in South Carolina. Fourteen streams draining watersheds with pasture, forest, and row crop land covers were sampled. This study measured pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and water temperature in the field, and collected water samples for both turbidity and chemical analyses. Using a land cover database, the percent pasture and the percent crop cover for each site was determined, which was later used in statistical tests. Specific conductance did not differ significantly between sites with and without crops. However, specific conductance correlated negatively with elevation of the sampling sites. Turbidity was significantly higher at crop sites than non-crop sites. Contrary to expectations, no significant correlation between turbidity and percent pasture was found. Crop sites had a significantly higher median nitrate concentration than non-crop sites. Among sites with no crops, nitrate concentrations correlated positively with percent pasture. Overall, these relationships suggest that row crop land cover has greater effects on stream water quality than does pasture land cover in the Southeastern Piedmont.