Long-Term Study of Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Concentration in Fall Creek and Comparison to Northeastern Tributaries of Cayuga Lake, NY: Implications for Watershed Monitoring and Management
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Geographic Setting and Watershed Characteristics
2.1.1. Long-Term Study of Fall Creek
2.1.2. Spatial Study
2.2. Sampling Sites, Sample Collection, and Sample Analysis
2.2.1. Long-Term Study of Fall Creek
2.2.2. Spatial Study
2.3. Discharge Records and Statistical Methods
3.1. Long-Term Study of Fall Creek.
3.2. Spatial Study
4.1. Long-Term Study of Fall Creek
4.2. Spatial Study
4.3. Implications for Future Monitoring and Management
- Sample High Flows and Record Flow Rates. Hydrology driven SRP export must be accounted for in monitoring protocols. A range of flow conditions must be sampled, with particular efforts to capture high flows. Rapid deployment of monitoring personnel in response to storm events is key. In ungaged streams flow rate at the time of sampling can be estimated using drainage basin ratios and data from nearby gaged streams . Alternatively, simple current velocity meters and stream dimensions can be used to roughly estimate flow rates, as long as high water does not pose safety concerns.
- Plan for the Long Term and for Extensive Sampling. Our data suggest that SRP in the Fall Creek watershed has been stable for decades. As we enter an era of TMDL-guided watershed management and efforts to reduce HABs, expectations of rapid watershed response are not realistic. Highly variable hydrology will confound our ability to detect changes attributable to decreased phosphorus inputs. Monitoring protocols should be designed and resourced for decadal timescales and large sample sizes.
- Incorporate Spatial Variety When Locating Monitoring Sites. Smaller tributaries in the northern part of the Cayuga Lake watershed represent a large data gap that we have begun to fill in this study using data collected by CSI and its volunteer partner groups. During TMDL implementation and assessment, the historical focus on southern tributaries and large sub-watersheds must be expanded to include more diversity in sub-watershed location and size.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Fall Creek Watershed|
|Land Use [19,22]|
|Point Sources [22,27]||One wastewater treatment plant||One upgraded and one additional wastewater treatment plant|
|Sewered Population [22,27]||1400||3250|
|Improved Agricultural Practices/Regulation ||Rare||More widespread|
|Town of Dryden (243 km2) 1|
|Percent of town in dairy farms||17||8|
|Average size of dairy farms (ha)||121||234|
|Number of dairy cows||1775||1540|
|Milk sold (mill kg)||10||16|
|Corn silage per acre (metric tons)||12||20|
|Fall Creek||Northeastern Tributaries|
|Watershed Area (ha)||33,086||Paines and Dean’s1: 5847|
Lake Ridge, Mill, and Townline: 3409
|Land Use || Paines and Dean’s 1:|
|Point Sources ||Two wastewater treatment plants serving 3250 people||One wastewater treatment plant serving 900 people|
|Septic System Density ||Lower||Higher|
|Tompkins County2||Cayuga County3|
|Land area (km2)||1270||2240|
|Population per square km 4||80||36|
|Land in farms (% of county)||29||41|
|Average farm size (ha)||71||108|
|Dairy cows per square km 5||7||16|
|Agricultural practices (% farms)|
|Time Period||Year||Number of Samples||Number of Sampling Days|
|Waterbody||Year||Number of Samples||Number of Sampling Days|
|Mean SRP Concentration (µg/L) ± Standard Error (Sample Size)|
|Fall Creek||Northeastern Tributaries|
|High Flow Samples||32.8 ± 3.1 (16)||183.1 ± 27.5 (29)|
|Low Flow Samples||13.7 ± 1.0 (79)||106.6 ± 12.0 (208)|
|All Samples||16.9 ± 1.2 (95)||116.0 ± 11.2 (237)|
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O’Leary, N.; Johnston, R.; Gardner, E.L.; Penningroth, S.M.; Bouldin, D.R. Long-Term Study of Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Concentration in Fall Creek and Comparison to Northeastern Tributaries of Cayuga Lake, NY: Implications for Watershed Monitoring and Management. Water 2019, 11, 2075. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102075
O’Leary N, Johnston R, Gardner EL, Penningroth SM, Bouldin DR. Long-Term Study of Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Concentration in Fall Creek and Comparison to Northeastern Tributaries of Cayuga Lake, NY: Implications for Watershed Monitoring and Management. Water. 2019; 11(10):2075. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102075Chicago/Turabian Style
O’Leary, Niamh, Roxanna Johnston, Erica L. Gardner, Stephen M. Penningroth, and David R. Bouldin. 2019. "Long-Term Study of Soluble Reactive Phosphorus Concentration in Fall Creek and Comparison to Northeastern Tributaries of Cayuga Lake, NY: Implications for Watershed Monitoring and Management" Water 11, no. 10: 2075. https://doi.org/10.3390/w11102075