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The role of riparian vegetation type in stream water quality conditions
Proceedings of the 2019 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2019 Authors: Musser S., Grafe J., Ortega-Achury S., Ramirez-Avila J.


Stream health can be significantly affected by the type and characteristics of riparian zones along stream corridors. Research is focused on the identification and assessment of habitat, water quality, and flood hazard processes along the main channel and tributaries of Catalpa Creek. Research results would be used to support the implementation of the management plan for this watershed. A study is in progress to compare forested and grassed riparian zones on tributaries within the Catalpa Creek Watershed, in order to better understand their effects on stream water quality and health. Water quality is monitored weekly for parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and turbidity. Grab samples are also collected and tested for quantification of total suspended solids and nutrients. Temporal and spatial differences in water quality, including changes in temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, and suspended solids will be assessed to determine how they are affected by seasonal changes (i.e. fall and winter) and the riparian zone characteristics (i.e. forested and grassed). Preliminary results indicate poorer stream health in grassed regions than forested regions. Overall, results would strengthen the case for properly maintaining and improving forested riparian zones to provide benefits in water quality and stream health in the Catalpa Creek.

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