Seasonal relationships between dissolved nitrogen and landuse/landcover and soil drainage at multiple spatial scales in the Calapooia Watershed, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/b8515r05b

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  • The Calapooia River, a major tributary of the Willamette River in western Oregon, is a watershed typical of many found in the Willamette Basin. Public and private forested lands occur in the steep Upper Zone of the watershed, mixed forest and agriculture lands are found in the Middle Zone, and the Lower Zone of the watershed is comprised primarily of grass seed agriculture on relatively flat topography with poorly drained soils. High levels of dissolved nitrogen (DN) have been identified as a water-quality concern within the Calapooia River. To gain a better understanding of the relationship between landuse/landcover (LULC), soil drainage, and DN dynamics within the watershed on a seasonal basis, we selected 44 sub-basins ranging in size between 3 and 33 km² for monthly synoptic surface water-quality sampling from October 2003 through September 2004. We selected an additional 31 sample locations along the length of the Calapooia River to determine relative influence of the 44 sub-basins on DN concentrations in the river. T-tests were used to analyze differences between zones (Upper, Middle and Lower) and regression analysis was used to determine relationships between DN and LULC or soil drainage class. The agriculture-dominated sub-basins had significantly higher (< 0.05) DN concentrations than the predominantly forested sub-basins. Winter concentrations of nitrate-N were 43 times higher in agriculturally dominated sub-basins than in forested sub-basins, whereas in the spring, the difference was only 7-fold. High DN concentrations associated with the predominantly agriculture sub-basins were substantially reduced once they mixed with water in the Calapooia River, highlighting the likelihood that water draining the relatively nutrient-poor, forested sub-basins from the Upper Zone of the watershed, was diluting DN-rich water from the agriculture sub-basins. Relationships between DN and agriculture, woody vegetation or poorly drained soils were moderate to strong (0.50 < R² > 0.85) during the winter, spring and summer seasons. Results indicated an exponential increase in DN concentration when proportion agriculture or poorly drained soils increased, whereas an increase in woody vegetation was related to an exponential decrease in DN concentration. The high variability in DN concentration in the agriculture-dominated sub-basins suggests factors in addition to LULC and poorly drained soils influence DN in surface water. Seasonal relationships were developed between DN and proportion of poorly drained soils, agriculture, and woody vegetation at differing scales (10 m, 20 m, 30 m, 60 m, 90 m, 150 m, 300 m, and entire sub-basin), which we defined as Influence Zones (IZs), surrounding the stream network. Correlations between DN and proportion LULC or poorly drained soil at each IZ were analyzed for significant differences (p-value < 0.05) using the Hotelling-Williams test. Our results show strong seasonal correlations (r > 0.80) between DN and proportion of woody vegetation or agriculture, and moderate-to-strong seasonal correlations (r > 0.60) between DN and proportion of sub-basins with poorly drained soils. Altering scale of analysis significantly changed correlations between LULC and DN, with IZs < 150 m generally having higher correlations than the sub-basin level. In contrast, DN correlations with poorly drained soil were generally higher at the sub-basin scale than the 60- through 10-m IZs during winter and spring. These results indicate that scale of analysis is an important factor when determining relationships between DN concentration and proportion LULC or poorly drained soils. Furthermore, seasonal shifts in significant differences among IZs for correlations between LULC and DN suggest land management proximity and its influence on DN concentration changes temporally. DN relationships with poorly drained soil suggest that during winter and spring, when rainfall is highest, sub-basin scale soil drainage properties have a greater influence on DN than soil properties within IZs in close proximity to the stream network.
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  • Master files scanned at 600 ppi (256 Grayscale) using Capture Perfect 3.0 on a Canon DR-9080C in TIF format. PDF derivative scanned at 300 ppi (256 B+W), using Capture Perfect 3.0, on a Canon DR-9080C. CVista PdfCompressor 3.1 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR.
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