Evaluation of Riparian Zones for Controlling Non-point Source Pollution in NE Kansas

EPA Grant Number: R829418E03
Title: Evaluation of Riparian Zones for Controlling Non-point Source Pollution in NE Kansas
Investigators: Hutchinson, Stacy Lewis , Barden, Charles , Mankin, Kyle R. , Young, C. Bryan
Institution: Kansas State University , University of Kansas
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: September 24, 2001 through September 23, 2003 (Extended to February 23, 2005)
Project Amount: $254,770
RFA: EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: EPSCoR (The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)


Non-point source (NPS) pollution has been called the nation's largest water quality problem, and its reduction is a major challenge facing society today. Lack of NPS or diffuse pollution control has resulted in approximately 40% of rivers, lakes, and estuaries being unfit for fishing and swimming. Understanding management techniques for the reduction of NPS pollution will help states comply with federal water quality laws and improve surface water quality. Establishment and maintenance of riparian buffer systems is an NPS pollution reduction tool that needs to be optimized.

Research objectives are 1) to evaluate and modify a comprehensive riparian buffer simulation model [REMM] for evaluation of ecosystem and NPS pollution control functions of buffer systems in Kansas, and 2) to design a field study based on the model sensitivity analysis to develop a complete field data set for calibrating and evaluating REMM in Kansas including the collection of pesticide and fecal bacteria data for future model algorithm development.


This research will involve four major phases. First, a model sensitivity analysis will determine the importance of each major model parameter. This step will also examine whether REMM's theoretical description of buffer zone behavior is mathematically well posed. The second phase will consist of the design and implementation of a field study for model evaluation. Third, models will be developed and calibrated for the field site using accumulated data. Finally, model structure and performance will be evaluated. This step will analyze actual buffer behavior and compare to the simulated response.

Expected Results:

The proposed research addresses a water quality problem of nationwide importance that is critical to the economy and health of Kansas residents: reduction of non-point source pollution. Research in the southeast United States indicates that riparian buffer systems are effective at controlling NPS pollution. In order to economically transfer this knowledge to other regions of the nation in a timely manner, it is necessary to develop and calibrate a model for assessing buffers. REMM provides a comprehensive assessment of buffers, but has not been calibrated and evaluated for the Midwest region of the United States. The major accomplishment of this work will be the sensitivity analysis of REMM, which will guide future use and developments of the model. A preliminary model calibration and function evaluation for Kansas will be completed with the field data collected during the project period. Further funding will be sought to continue collection of field data to provide a more accurate model assessment. The outcome of this research will be a tool for use by the state to evaluate and design riparian buffer systems for control of sediment and nutrient NPS pollution.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 11 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

non-point source pollution, riparian buffer, REMM., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Health, Waste, Water, Geographic Area, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, Remediation, State, Chemistry, Technology, Risk Assessments, Monitoring/Modeling, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, environmental technology, environmental measurement, riparian buffer simulation model, biodegradation, contaminated sediment, remediation technologies, non-point source pollution, riparian buffers, bioremediation of soils, human exposure, Kansas (KS), engineering, biotechnology, assessment methods, water quality

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004
  • Final Report