Spatial Analysis of Monitoring Designs and Watershed Characteristics Affecting Nonpoint Source RunoffEPA Grant Number: U916173
Title: Spatial Analysis of Monitoring Designs and Watershed Characteristics Affecting Nonpoint Source Runoff
Investigators: Hunt, John W.
Institution: University of California - Santa Cruz
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 2003 through January 1, 2006
Project Amount: $89,793
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2003) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Geography , Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
Agencies, commercial organizations, and individuals currently are working on national, state, regional, and local scales to assess the potential effects of nonpoint source runoff to the nation's waterways. The objective of this research project is to investigate the potential of various spatial analytical techniques to provide water quality assessments useful to entities addressing nonpoint source pollution issues at various jurisdictional levels. Assessment efforts depend on water quality monitoring to identify biological effects, their causes, and sources. The design of effective monitoring programs often is confounded by the variety of objectives appropriate for addressing pollution issues at different scales. Regional entities often need information about specific discharges, while state and federal agencies often need overall assessments of water quality across large areas. In addition, inferences may need to be drawn from limited data to estimate potential for water quality impairment at unsampled locations.
Using geographic information system (GIS) technology and GIS models developed by research and regulatory organizations, I plan to analyze existing and currently developing water quality data sets to determine which monitoring designs and assessment frameworks provide the greatest opportunities for addressing multiple regulatory objectives. In addition, GIS tools and available data layers will be applied to problems of nonpoint source chemical transport so that potential impairment can be estimated based on watershed factors such as slope, precipitation, irrigation, soil conditions, vegetative cover, chemical application, and land management.
By using spatial analysis of large water quality data sets, which are becoming available through current monitoring programs, this research project has the potential to streamline program design and focus data interpretation on specific management actions to protect beneficial uses of freshwater systems.