Effects of land use and topography on some water quality variables in forested east Texas
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Spatial variation of five water quality variables were analyzed using composite water samples collected periodically from eight small watersheds (11.4-71.6 sq. km) in forested East Texas during 1977 through 1980. Based on 31 observations during the four-year period the average yield of nitrate-nitrite nitrogen (NNN), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), total phosphorus (PO4), chloride (CHL), and total suspended sediment (TSS) were 1.43, 21.96, 3.09, 50.11, and 90.39 ka/ha/yr, respectively. Compared to the water quality standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1976) for CHL, TSS, and NNN, none of the observations exceeded the limits for public water supplies. The study showed that forested watersheds normally yielded stream flow with better quality than that from agricultural watersheds. Watersheds of greater percent pasture area, mean slope, stream segment frequency, and drainage density produced greater concentrations for these five chemical parameters in water samples. Meaningful equations were developed for estimating mean average yields for each chemical parameter for each watershed with R2 ranging from 0.77 to 0.96 and standard error of estimates from 17 to 33 percent of the observed means.