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Changes in chemical and physical propertiesof stream water across an urban-rural gradient in western Georgia

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The Middle Chattahoochee River Watershed in western Georgia is undergoing rapid urban development. Consequently, Georgia’s water quality is threatened by extensive development as well as other land uses such as grazing. Maintenance of stream water quality, as land development occurs, is critical for the protection of drinking water, biotic integrity, and stream morphology. A two-phase, watershed-scale study was established to develop relationships among land use and water quality within western Georgia. During phase 1 (year one), physio-chemical, biological and morphological measurements were taken within 16 sub-watersheds, ranging in size from 500–2500 ha. Nutrient and fecal coliform concentrations within watersheds with impervious surface > 5% often exceeded those in other watersheds during both baseflow and storm flow. Also, fecal coliform bacteria in more urbanized areas often exceeded the US EPA’s standard for recreational waters. During the second phase of the study, models will be tested and calibrated based on newly chosen watersheds.

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Correspondence to Jon E. Schoonover.

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Schoonover, J.E., Lockaby, B.G. & Pan, S. Changes in chemical and physical propertiesof stream water across an urban-rural gradient in western Georgia. Urban Ecosyst 8, 107–124 (2005).

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  • urbanization
  • fecal coliform
  • land use
  • stormflow
  • nutrients