Effects of natural and anthropogenic processes on Tillamook Bay and its watershed: An integrated process study and land-use perspective

EPA Grant Number: R825751
Title: Effects of natural and anthropogenic processes on Tillamook Bay and its watershed: An integrated process study and land-use perspective
Investigators: McManus, James , Ford, M. Jesse , Smith, Courtland , Komar, Paul
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: October 1, 1997 through September 30, 2000 (Extended to September 30, 2001)
Project Amount: $749,995
RFA: Water and Watersheds Research (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Water and Watersheds


This proposal seeks funding to mount an integrative ecological, geochemical, sedimentological, and sociological study that will address a series of hypotheses centered around the influence of different land-use practices on the physical-chemical-biological environment of the Tillamook Bay watershed.There are five major rivers draining into the bay which drain similar geologic terrain; however, the land-use practices vary significantly among the different riverine watersheds.

Within the framework of examining the relative influence of different watershed activities on processes occurring within the Tillamook basin we propose to test four specific hypotheses: (1) Land-use practices have significantly altered the sedimentary budget of the Tillamook Bay watershed. (2) Carbon, nutrient, and trace metal cycles are significantly different among the five major river systems feeding the Tillamook estuary because of the different land use practices and the differences among these systems can be traced into the sedimentary record of the estuary. (3) Differences in land use management practices between the Tillamook and Kilchis River subbasins of the Tillamook Bay watershed have led to quantifiable differences in aquatic ecosystem health and biotic integrity in the riverine and stream environments of these subbasins. (4) Social, temporal, and experiential context best explain differences between local knowledge and scientific observation, and actions to clarify knowledge contexts can resolve differences.


Field and analytical programs are designed to yield information on both spatial and temporal variability within the watershed. Years 1 and 2 will be devoted to collecting data in an effort to isolate environmental variability from the different anthropogenic influences. Year 3 will be devoted to project synthesis. In cooperation with the Tillamook Bay National Estuary Program, involve the citizen volunteer water quality monitoring team with our sampling team.

Expected Results:

Our environmental and social hypotheses are knit is such a way that we will learn what residents of the five river basins think of the environmental quality in the basin in which they live. We will assess the Tillamook Bay sediment budget and examine how this budget compares with the sedimentation history of the Bay. We will quantify the effects of different land-use practices on the geochemical budgets and processes within the river and estuary. We will quantitatively assess the ecological health of the system using standard measurement and statistical techniques.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 55 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

sediments, marine, ecological effects, integrated assessment, environmental chemistry, social science, geology, Emap, Northwest., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Water & Watershed, Contaminated Sediments, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Geochemistry, Northwest, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Watersheds, Ecological Indicators, anthropogenic processes, ecological condition, ecological effects, nutrient transport, bioassessment, ecological exposure, ecological health, integrated process study, runoff, sediment transport, contaminated sediment, geology, integrated assessment, aquatic ecosystems, ecosystem health, water quality, natural processes, ecology assessment models, watershed assessment, land use, watershed restoration, river ecosystems

Relevant Websites:


Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • Final Report