Aquatic Resources Management Program: Sougahatchee Creek Watershed

Justification

Student Researchers

Maintaining the quality and quantity of aquatic resources is an increasing challenge because of the continued growth of the world’s population. Rivers, lakes, and even the oceans are becoming polluted at an alarming rate, making clean, potable water a scarce resource and endangering aquatic ecosystems, many of which provide economically valuable food resources. As point and nonpoint source pollution threatens an increasing proportion of our water resources, natural resource managers need to understand how to balance human activities on watersheds and how to maintain and even enhance healthy aquatic systems.

 

Objectives

(1) Identify and measure sources of point and nonpoint water pollution arising within Sougahatchee (referred to locally as Saugahatchee) Watershed.
(2) Measure the effects of these pollutants on aquatic plants and animals.
(3) Develop long-range management plans to reduce water pollution and enhance biological integrity of Sougahatchee Creek and Yates Lake.

Soughatchee Creek

 

Research

Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures researchers are monitoring water quality and quantity at 24 sampling locations on Sougahatchee Creek and its principal tributaries. Over a 2.5-year period, they will conduct about 26,000 chemical and physical analyses to estimate the amount, type, and approximate location of pollution sources within the basin. In addition, they are studying bottom-dwelling invertebrates (bugs and worms) and the condition of their habitat to assess the effects of pollutants on stream life. Finally, these researchers are using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to determine basin landscape characteristics that may contribute pollutants to Sougahatchee Creek.

Soughatchee Creek

 

Anticipated Impacts

Water quality and biological data along with GIS maps will be used for long-term planning and remediation of Sougahatchee Creek and its impaired embayment in Yates Lake. Based on results of this basin-level study of Sougahatchee Creek, refinements will be made so that this new approach can be more effectively used in the future in other basins.

 

Principal Investigators

David R. Bayne
baynedr@auburn.edu
Professor
Auburn University
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures

E. Clifford Webber
Senior Research Fellow
Auburn University
Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures

 

Affiliated Departments or Institutions

Alabama Pesticide Residue Laboratory

Auburn University Soils Laboratory

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

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