Land use and nonpoint source phosphorus pollution in the Dairy-McKay hydrologic unit area of the Tualatin River Basin, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k643b594v

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  • Human activities may contribute to the eutrophication of surface waters by providing nutrients to aquatic ecosystems. Phosphorus is frequently identified as a nutrient that is limiting to most aquatic ecosystems under natural conditions. Sources of phosphorus contributing to eutrophic conditions often include nonpoint sources that are dispersed across the landscape. In the Tualatin Basin of Oregon, nonpoint sources have been identified as contributing to phosphorus levels in the Tualatin River that exceed limits established in water quality regulations. The first section of this paper provides a review of relevant literature to explore connections between land use and the sources and transport of nonpoint source phosphorus into the Tualatin Basin. Additionally, where these connections exist, methods to alter existing land use practices to reduce phosphorus contributions are identified. The second section of this paper reviews and analyzes existing data gathered by agencies in the Tualatin Basin to look for evidence of connections between land use and the sources and transport of nonpoint source phosphorus. As one of the most obvious and influential connections, sediment-carried particulate phosphorus is examined both for its influence to the total phosphorus content of streams, and for evidence that it may become more influential as it is transported downstream. Data sets are also examined for seasonal effects and for interactions between phosphorus and other sampled water quality parameters. The third section is an examination and discussion of relevant social issues connected to nonpoint source phosphorus issues in the realization that any solution must be not only technically achievable, but also acceptable to society. Two surveys that attempt to describe the concerns of citizens, one for the general public and one for landowners, are reported. In addition, the problems of establishing regulatory control for a problem whose limits are still undefined is discussed. A philosophy of managementadaptive managementis discussed, and a program for controlling nonpoint source phosphorus in the Tualatin Basin that incorporate adaptive management principles is proposed. Finally, the issues surrounding which segments of society are responsible for paying for control are discussed.
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