Environmental Management

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 507–518 | Cite as

Determining regional water quality patterns and their ecological relationships

  • Tim W. Mcdaniel
  • Carolyn T. Hunsaker
  • John J. Beauchamp


A multivariate statistical method for analyzing spatial patterns of water quality in Georgia and Kansas was tested using data in the US Environmental Protection Agency's STORET data system. Water quality data for Georgia and Kansas were organized by watersheds. We evaluated three questions: (a) can distinctive regional water quality patterns be detected and predicted using only a few water quality variables, (b) are regional water quality patterns correlated with terrestrial biotic regions, and (c) are regional water quality patterns correlated with fish distributions? Using existing data, this method can distinguish regions with water quality very different from the average conditions (as in Georgia), but it does not discriminate well between regions that do not have diverse water quality conditions (as in Kansas). Data that are spatially and temporally adequate for representing large regions and for multivariate statistical analysis are available for only a few common water quality parameters. Regional climate, lithology, and biotic regimes all have the potential to affect water quality, and terrestrial biotic regions and fish distributions do compare with regional water quality patterns, especially in a state like Georgia, where watershed characteristics are diverse. Thus, identifiable relationships between watershed characteristics and water quality should allow the development of an integrated landaquatic classification system that would be a valuable tool for resource management. Because geographical distributions of species may be limited by Zoogeographic and environmental factors, the recognition of patterns in fish distributions that correlate with regional water quality patterns could influence management strategies and aid regional assessments.

Key words

Water quality Regional ecology Discriminant analysis Landscape ecology Ecoregions Watershed 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim W. Mcdaniel
    • 1
  • Carolyn T. Hunsaker
    • 2
  • John J. Beauchamp
    • 3
  1. 1.Regional Air Pollution Control AgencyDaytonUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Sciences DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Engineering Physics and Mathematics DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA

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