Land use and its effects on water quality using the BASINS model
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Differences in land use have been shown to affect water quality. This is important because water is used for human consumption. High levels of nitrate, phosphate and sediments can have a negative impact on a person’s health. The objective of this research is to determine if best management practices (BMPs) would affect the water quality and lower the associated agrochemicals that come with an agriculturally predominant watershed. Best management practices would decrease nutrient and sediment loads when compared to a watershed’s baseline status. Filter stripping was implemented and nitrate, phosphate and sediment were modeled using the Environmental Protection Agency modeling tool, Better Assessment Science Integrating point and Non-point Source pollution, to determine if BMPs were efficient in reducing current total maximum daily loads (TMDL) below Sassafras River Association TMDLs. The BMP that was most efficient at removing nitrate, phosphate and sediment was compared to a baseline run and compared between drought, average and wettest year conditions to determine if rainfall was driving the nutrient and sediment concentration. It was concluded that the BMP implementation decreased the amount of nutrients and sediments transported throughout the watershed’s waterways.
KeywordsLand use Water quality Best management practices (BMPs) Maryland USA
Thanks to Dr. Bruce Allison, Mr. Gregory McKee, Ms. Marjorie Coombs Wellman, Mr. Yusuf Mohamoud, and Mrs. Leeann Ortolani.
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