Project Title

Nutrient Pollution: Assessing the State of Monitoring and Management of Freshwater Resources in Georgia

Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Daniel Hoffman

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The state of Georgia is home to more than 10 million residents and contains 14 major river basins covering more than 70,000 stream miles. These waterways play an integral role in Georgia’s industries and community wellbeing, including agriculture, drinking water, and recreation. Threats to water quality, including nutrient pollution, negatively impact both human and environment health. In this study, we investigated two publicly accessible water quality databases (the Georgia Environmental Monitoring and Assessment System (GOMAS) and the USGS and EPA Water Quality Portal) to determine the relative accessibility of nutrient data and the potential for meaningful use of data reported. We cross-referenced for overlapping data, assessed the reporting intervals of several key nutrient parameters, and evaluated the frequency of data reported per monitoring site. To determine potential linkages between monitoring and community dynamics, we compared the results of this analysis against demographic data (e.g., median income, population density, and the CDC’s social vulnerability index). Among the nutrients analyzed (including several nitrogen and phosphorus forms), the analytical procedure was unknown for between 33.8–100% of samples. For all nutrients, the numbers of sites sampled over a five-year period decreased sharply above a threshold of 10 sampling events per site. In comparing sampling frequency and socioeconomic factors, we found several instances in which a low CDC social vulnerability index score paired with infrequent monitoring of sample sites. As we expand our research, we expect to find relationships between the prevalence of waterways and the frequency of site monitoring within each county.

Disciplines

Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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Nutrient Pollution: Assessing the State of Monitoring and Management of Freshwater Resources in Georgia

The state of Georgia is home to more than 10 million residents and contains 14 major river basins covering more than 70,000 stream miles. These waterways play an integral role in Georgia’s industries and community wellbeing, including agriculture, drinking water, and recreation. Threats to water quality, including nutrient pollution, negatively impact both human and environment health. In this study, we investigated two publicly accessible water quality databases (the Georgia Environmental Monitoring and Assessment System (GOMAS) and the USGS and EPA Water Quality Portal) to determine the relative accessibility of nutrient data and the potential for meaningful use of data reported. We cross-referenced for overlapping data, assessed the reporting intervals of several key nutrient parameters, and evaluated the frequency of data reported per monitoring site. To determine potential linkages between monitoring and community dynamics, we compared the results of this analysis against demographic data (e.g., median income, population density, and the CDC’s social vulnerability index). Among the nutrients analyzed (including several nitrogen and phosphorus forms), the analytical procedure was unknown for between 33.8–100% of samples. For all nutrients, the numbers of sites sampled over a five-year period decreased sharply above a threshold of 10 sampling events per site. In comparing sampling frequency and socioeconomic factors, we found several instances in which a low CDC social vulnerability index score paired with infrequent monitoring of sample sites. As we expand our research, we expect to find relationships between the prevalence of waterways and the frequency of site monitoring within each county.

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