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Concentrations and Loads of Nutrients and Suspended Sediments in Englesby Brook and Little Otter Creek, Lake Champlain Basin, Vermont, 2000-2005

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5074

Prepared in cooperation with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, City of Burlington, and Lake Champlain Basin Program
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Abstract

The effectiveness of best-management practices (BMPs) in improving water quality in Lake Champlain tributaries was evaluated from 2000 through 2005 on the basis of analysis of data collected on concentrations of total phosphorus and suspended sediment in Englesby Brook, an urban stream in Burlington, and Little Otter Creek, an agricultural stream in Ferrisburg. Data also were collected on concentrations of total nitrogen in the Englesby Brook watershed. In the winter of 2001-2002, one of three planned structural BMPs was installed in the urban watershed. At approximately the same time, a set of barnyard BMPs was installed in the agricultural watershed; however, the other planned BMPs, which included streambank fencing and nutrient management, were not implemented within the study period. At Englesby Brook, concentrations of phosphorus ranged from 0.024 to 0.3 milligrams per liter (mg/L) during base-flow and from 0.032 to 11.8 mg/L during high-flow conditions. Concentrations of suspended sediment ranged from 3 to 189 mg/L during base-flow and from 5 to 6,880 mg/L during high-flow conditions. An assessment of the effectiveness of an urban BMP was made by comparing concentrations and loads of phosphorus and suspended sediment before and after a golf-course irrigation pond in the Englesby Brook watershed was retrofitted with the objective of reducing sediment transport. Results from a modified paired watershed study design showed that the BMP reduced concentrations of phosphorus and suspended sediment during high-flow events - when average streamflow was greater than 3 cubic feet per second. While construction of the BMP did not reduce storm loads of phosphorus or suspended sediment, an evaluation of changes in slope of double-mass curves showing cumulative monthly streamflow plotted against cumulative monthly loads indicated a possible reduction in cumulative loads of phosphorus and suspended sediment after BMP construction. Results from the Little Otter Creek assessment of agricultural BMPs showed that concentrations of phosphorus ranged from 0.016 to 0.141 mg/L during base-flow and from 0.019 to 0.565 mg/L during high-flow conditions at the upstream monitoring station. Concentrations of suspended sediment ranged from 2 to 13 mg/L during base-flow and from 1 to 473 mg/L during high-flow conditions at the upstream monitoring station. Concentrations of phosphorus ranged from 0.018 to 0.233 mg/L during base-flow and from 0.019 to 1.95 mg/L during high-flow conditions at the downstream monitoring station. Concentrations of suspended sediment ranged from 10 to 132 mg/L during base-flow and from 8 to 1,190 mg/L during high-flow conditions at the downstream monitoring station. Annual loads of phosphorus at the downstream monitoring station were significantly larger than loads at the upstream monitoring station, and annual loads of suspended sediment at the downstream monitoring station were larger than loads at the upstream monitoring station for 4 out of 6 years. On a monthly basis, loads of phosphorus and suspended sediment at the downstream monitoring station were significantly larger than loads at the upstream monitoring station. Pairs of concentrations of phosphorus and monthly loads of phosphorus and suspended sediment from the upstream and downstream monitoring stations were evaluated using the paired watershed study design. The only significant reduction between the calibration and treatment periods was for monthly loads of phosphorus; all other evaluations showed no change between periods.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Concentrations and Loads of Nutrients and Suspended Sediments in Englesby Brook and Little Otter Creek, Lake Champlain Basin, Vermont, 2000-2005
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2007-5074
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2007
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
New Hampshire-Vermont Water Science Center
Description:
viii, 51 p.
Time Range Start:
2000-01-01
Time Range End:
2005-12-31