Influences of Watershed Land Use on Stream Ecosystem Structure and Function

EPA Grant Number: R824777
Title: Influences of Watershed Land Use on Stream Ecosystem Structure and Function
Investigators: Meyer, Judith L. , Couch, Carol
Institution: University of Georgia , United States Geological Survey [USGS]
Current Institution: University of Georgia
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: November 1, 1995 through November 1, 1998
Project Amount: $500,000
RFA: Water and Watersheds (1995) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Watersheds , Water


The structural and functional attributes of stream ecosystems are impacted by a range of human disturbances. Existing programs that assess water quality focus on measuring structural aspects of aquatic ecosystems such as concentrations of elements and biotic indices. How these structural attributes are related to ecosystem function is not well understood for riverine ecosystems. This project will provide a much-needed comparison of stream ecosystem function (rates of community metabolism and cycling of carbon and nutrients) with traditional chemistry-based water quality assessment and organism-based bioassessment. The project will also determine how differing patterns of land-use in the watershed alter stream ecosystem function.

Project research sites are eight streams, two streams draining watersheds in each of four land-use categories (forest, agriculture, urban, suburban); all are tributaries of the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta, GA. These watersheds experience differing degrees of cumulative non-point source nutrient enrichment and episodic inputs of toxins. They comprise a gradient of watershed disturbances that are representative of the current American landscape. Measures of stream ecosystem function will be compared with analyses of hydrology, water quality and biological community structure currently being collected by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The project results will be useful to managers concerned with non-point source pollution control in urban and suburban settings and will also be a significant contribution to the development of better indicators of stream ecosystem health.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 19 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, watershed, ecological effects, ecosystem, indicators, aquatic, habitat, decision making, environmental chemistry, biology, ecology, hydrology, zoology, monitoring, analytical, survdy, southeast, Georgia, GA, Region 4, agriculture., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Hydrology, Nutrients, Ecology, Water & Watershed, exploratory research environmental biology, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Chemical Mixtures - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecosystem Protection, Chemistry, State, Zoology, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Drinking Water, EPA Region, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, ecological effects, ecological exposure, aquatic ecosystem, environmental monitoring, fate and transport, nutrient transport, anthropogenic processes, bioassessment, region 4, carbon cycling, stream ecosystems, other - risk assessment, human-dominated systems, Georgia (GA), watershed land use, ecosystem indicators, biological integrity, toxins, aquatic ecosystems, nutrient cycling, water quality, stream ecosystem, land use, carbon nutrients

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • 1997
  • Final Report