Environmental Management

, 48:795 | Cite as

Landscape Influences on Headwater Streams on Fort Stewart, Georgia, USA

  • Henriette I. Jager
  • Mark S. Bevelhimer
  • Roy L. King
  • Katy A. Smith


Military landscapes represent a mixture of undisturbed natural ecosystems, developed areas, and lands that support different types and intensities of military training. Research to understand water-quality influences of military landscapes usually involves intensive sampling in a few watersheds. In this study, we developed a survey design of accessible headwater watersheds intended to improve our ability to distinguish land–water relationships in general, and training influences, in particular, on Fort Stewart, GA. We sampled and analyzed water from watershed outlets. We successfully developed correlative models for total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen (TN), organic carbon (OC), and organic nitrogen (ON), which dominated in this blackwater ecosystem. TSS tended to be greater in samples after rainfall and during the growing season, and models that included %Wetland suggested a “build-and-flush” relationship. We also detected a positive association between TSS and tank-training, which suggests a need to intercept sediment-laden runoff from training areas. Models for OC showed a negative association with %Grassland. TN and ON both showed negative associations with %Grassland, %Wetland, and %Forest. Unexpected positive associations were observed between OC and equipment-training activity and between ON and %Bare ground + Roads. Future studies that combine our survey-based approach with more intensive monitoring of the timing and intensity of training would be needed to better understand the mechanisms for these empirical relationships involving military training. Looking beyond local effects on Fort Stewart streams, we explore questions about how exports of OC and nitrogen from coastal military installations ultimately influence estuaries downstream.


Blackwater river Build-and-flush Coastal plain Headwater watershed Land use Military training Stream-water quality Survey design 



This research was performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and sponsored by the United States Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) through military interagency purchase requisition no. W74RDV83465697. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725. Many people contributed to this effort, starting with our SERDP program manager, John Hall. Special thanks are due to Patrick Mulholland who provided his considerable expertise and advice in the planning and execution of a hydrology and water chemistry study. Tim Beatty (CIV USA FORSCOM) served as our primary contact in the Natural Resources Division, Fort Stewart, and facilitated all of our sampling. We also appreciate the efforts of others at Fort Stewart, including Larry Carlisle, Ron Owens, and Robert Gosling. We thank Keith Gates (UGA Marine Extension) for arranging for laboratory analysis of water chemistry and sharing water-quality data for the Ogeechee River. GIS data and expertise were provided by Latha Baskaran (ORNL) and Steve Campbell (ORISE). We thank Chuck Garten and Pat Mulholland for collegial reviews of this manuscript and extremely helpful reviews from five reviewers.

Supplementary material

267_2011_9722_MOESM1_ESM.doc (80 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 80 kb)
267_2011_9722_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (103 kb)
Fig. S1. Plots describing observed versus predicted values (left column) and residuals (right column) for each analyte modeled, including a, b total suspended sediment (TSS); c, d total organic carbon (TOC); e, f dissolved organic carbon (DOC); g, h total nitrogen (TN); and i, j organic nitrogen (ON) (PDF 103 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henriette I. Jager
    • 1
  • Mark S. Bevelhimer
    • 1
  • Roy L. King
    • 2
  • Katy A. Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Oak Ridge Associated UniversitiesFort StewartUSA
  3. 3.University Georgia Marine Extension ServiceBrunswickUSA

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