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A transferable Model of Stakeholder Partnerships for Addressing Nutrient Dynamics in Southeastern Watersheds


Deutsch, B., D. Bayne, J. Glasier, R. Nelson, S. Longshore

Date: 2005

Funding Agency: CSREES of the US Department of Agriculture

Keywords: tallapoosa river, watershed, water quality, nutrients

Category: Domestic Funded Research Report

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The Tallapoosa Watershed Project (TWP) is a three-year project, which began on September 15
2003, following a series of planning meetings by researchers, educators and other stakeholder
groups. The TWP is an integrated project (research, education and outreach components) funded
by USDA/CSREES (Project Number ALA09-051, CRIS Number 0197353). This progress
report documents activities and accomplishments of the project’s second calendar year (January-
December 2005), which concentrated on the aquatic environments and watersheds of Lake
Martin and Lake Wedowee of the Middle and Upper Tallapoosa River Basins.

Auburn University (AU) research team, from the AU Department of Fisheries and Allied

Aquacultures, made seven monthly trips to Lake Wedowee from April through October 2005 to
measure chlorophyll a, total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), soluble reactive phosphorus
(SRP), total suspended solids (TSS), pH, alkalinity, hardness, turbidity, conductivity, water
temperature, dissolved oxygen and Secchi disk visibility at 14 sites on the lake following
Standard Methods


protocols. Lake sampling was done on both a photic zone composite sample

and a 0.5-meter deep sample. The 0.5-meter deep sample was collected specifically for
correlation with spectral reflectance analyses. AU also measured TN, TP, SRP, TSS, pH,
alkalinity and discharge from six stream sites, three river sites and two point sources (wastewater
treatment plants) monthly, January-December 2005 (the same sites sampled in 2004).
Streams were also sampled eight times after significant rainfall/runoff events. Gage data was
periodically downloaded from stream gages that were installed in 2004 on the six streams (four
agricultural and two forested) for the continuous monitoring of water level for developing
hydrographs to be used in estimating nutrient and sediment loading. Fish communities were
sampled from the six TWP streams and from Mill Creek (below one of the wastewater treatment
plants) to determine stream quality.

University of Alabama (UA) research team, from the UA Department of Geography, made

seven monthly trips to Lake Wedowee from April through October 2005, coincident with the AU
team and the Landsat satellite overpass to perform close-range hyperspectral analyses of lake
surface waters. Transport of UA researchers on Lake Wedowee was provided by Lake Wedowee
Property Owners Association (a volunteer citizen water quality monitoring group).
Hyperspectral analyses were conducted using a high-end spectrometer (ASD FieldSpec
UV/VNIR). Surface water spectral reflectance values were correlated to Standard Methods lake
chlorophyll a values to develop algorithms that predict chlorophyll a concentrations throughout
the lake. Satellite images were purchased for analyses of watershed land use/land cover and
mapping of lake chlorophyll a concentrations. A color-coded chlorophyll a map of Lake
Wedowee was generated for April 2005. The GIS-based SWAT model was utilized to generate
estimates of nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment loads from all subwatersheds of the
Middle and Upper Tallapoosa Basins.

Alabama Water Watch (AWW)


, a state-wide program dedicated to developing citizen

volunteer monitoring of Alabama’s lakes, streams and coastal waters, conducted two workshops
on the approach of the TWP and stream bioassessment for 10 pre-service teachers at Auburn

University and 45 sixth-grade students at an Auburn-area middle school. The weeklong




curriculum (grades 6-12), developed by the TWP Education team, was piloted in four

schools, with positive response and comments for improvements. A poster and brochure
featuring the

Living Streams curriculum were developed.

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