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Relating Surface-Water Nutrients in the Pacific Northwest To Watershed Attributes Using the USGS SPARROW Model

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  • The USGS SPARROW model (SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes) was used to predict the long-term, average loads, yields, and concentrations of total nitrogen and total phosphorus for stream reaches located in the Pacific Northwest (the Columbia basin, Puget Sound basin, and Pacific drainages of Oregon and Washington), and to identify the important sources and watershed properties that control the transport of nutrients through these stream reaches. The modeling results were used to identify stream reaches that were nutrient-enriched relative to the suggested U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference criteria and determine the relative contribution of different source categories to annual instream nutrient load. The results from this analysis will be linked to an online decision support system that regional water-quality managers and other stakeholders can use to assess water-quality conditions where no water-quality monitoring results are available and predict changes in water-quality conditions under different management scenarios.
  • Presented at The Oregon Water Conference, May 24-25, 2011, Corvallis, OR.
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