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Water 2016, 8(12), 607; doi:10.3390/w8120607

Beyond the Clean Water Rule: Impacts of a Non-Jurisdictional Ditch on Headwater Stream Discharge and Water Chemistry

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources, Western Carolina University, 331 Stillwell Bldg, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA
College of Arts and Sciences, Western Carolina University, 340 Stillwell Bldg, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sujay Kaushal, Paul Mayer and Arthur Gold
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 21 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use, Climate, and Water Resources)
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Ephemeral drainage ditches in upland areas, such as those draining roads, are excluded from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA). While several studies have shown that road drainage and/or development in forested watersheds can impact water quality, the direct physical and chemical impacts of a single drainage ditch have not been identified. In this study, we measured water chemistry (silicon, calcium, and sulfate) and magnitude of discharge from one such feature and at the outlet of the catchment it is within. We found that discharge from the drainage ditch was sometimes over 10% of the larger stream into which it drains, despite the small relative size of the ditch catchment (1.1 ha) compared to the main catchment (43 ha). Furthermore, we observed sharp decreases in silicon and calcium and increases in sulfate concentrations downstream from the drainage ditch across longitudinal sampling of the stream network. This illustrates the impacts of a common feature in high relief, forested areas that when aggregated over the landscape are likely responsible for regional water quality impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: runoff generation; stormwater; clean water act; clean water rule runoff generation; stormwater; clean water act; clean water rule

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Gannon, J.P.; Kinner, D.A.; Lord, M.L. Beyond the Clean Water Rule: Impacts of a Non-Jurisdictional Ditch on Headwater Stream Discharge and Water Chemistry. Water 2016, 8, 607.

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