Pathogen Pollutant Loading Responses to Precipitation Dynamics and Land Cover

by O'Banion, Ryan

Abstract (Summary)
The Newport River Estuary in Carteret County, North Carolina has been placed on the state’s 303D list for its inability to meet federally mandated surface water quality criteria. A pathogen pollutant Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study with fecal coliform as an indicator species has therefore been undertaken by Kenneth H. Reckhow of Duke University. Integral to the completion of this TMDL is an understanding of the terrestrial pathogen pollutant loading responses to precipitation dynamics and land use within the Newport River Estuary.

This masters project investigates pathogen pollutant loading by completing three primary objectives. Through visual analysis of sampled fecal coliform and flow data, the best available data are chosen for model fitting and creation. Geospatial analysis tools are then developed in Python and ArcGIS to accurately delineate coastal watersheds with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data. The data are then used to calibrate a model to predict fecal coliform loading responses to precipitation dynamics within the Newport River Estuary.

The results of the three primary objectives illustrate the complicated relationship between fecal coliform loading and precipitation events. The geospatial analysis tools allow for the accurate delineation of coastal watersheds at scales previously unavailable to managers. Additionally, the calibrated model highlights problem areas for future modelers to address when attempting to quantify fecal coliform loading and precipitation dynamics.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Reckhow, Kenneth

School:Duke University

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:fecal coliform watershed delineation tmdl pathogen pollutant lidar


Date of Publication:04/25/2008

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