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Hydrologic Conditions and Quality of Rainfall and Storm Runoff for Two Agricultural Areas of the Oso Creek Watershed, Nueces County, Texas, 2005-07

Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5103

Prepared in cooperation with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Corpus Christi
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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, and Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Corpus Christi, studied hydrologic conditions and quality of rainfall and storm runoff of two (primarily) agricultural areas (subwatersheds) of the Oso Creek watershed in Nueces County, Texas. One area, the upper West Oso Creek subwatershed, is 5,145 acres. The other area, a subwatershed drained by an unnamed Oso Creek tributary (hereinafter, Oso Creek tributary), is 5,287 acres. Rainfall and runoff (streamflow) were continuously monitored at the outlets of the two subwatersheds during October 2005-September 2007. Fourteen rainfall samples were collected and analyzed for nutrients and major inorganic ions. Nineteen composite runoff samples (10 West Oso Creek, nine Oso Creek tributary) were collected and analyzed for nutrients, major inorganic ions, and pesticides. Twenty-two discrete suspended-sediment samples (10 West Oso Creek, 12 Oso Creek tributary) and 13 bacteria samples (eight West Oso Creek, five Oso Creek tributary) were collected and analyzed. These data were used to estimate, for selected constituents, rainfall deposition to and runoff loads and yields from the study subwatersheds. Quantities of fertilizers and pesticides applied in the subwatersheds were compared with quantities of nutrients and pesticides in rainfall and runoff. For the study period, total rainfall was greater than average. Most of the runoff at both subwatershed outlet sites occurred in response to a few specific storm periods. The West Oso Creek subwatershed produced more runoff during the study period than the Oso Creek tributary subwatershed, 10.83 inches compared with 7.28 inches. Runoff response was quicker and peak flows were higher in the West Oso Creek subwatershed than in the Oso Creek tributary subwatershed. Total nitrogen runoff yield for the 2-year study period averaged 2.61 pounds per acre per year from the West Oso Creek subwatershed and 0.966 pound per acre per year from the Oso Creek tributary subwatershed. Total phosphorus yields from the West Oso Creek and the Oso Creek tributary subwatersheds for the 2-year period were 0.776 and 0.498 pound per acre per year. Runoff yields of nitrogen and phosphorus were relatively small compared to inputs of nitrogen in fertilizer and rainfall deposition. Average annual runoff yield of total nitrogen (subwatersheds combined) represents about 2.4 percent of nitrogen applied as fertilizer and nitrogen entering the subwatersheds through rainfall deposition. Average annual runoff yield of total phosphorus (subwatersheds combined) represents about 4.4 percent of the phosphorus in applied fertilizer and rainfall deposition. Suspended-sediment yields from the West Oso Creek subwatershed were more than twice those from the Oso Creek tributary subwatershed. The average suspended-sediment yield from the West Oso Creek subwatershed was 582 pounds per acre per year. The average suspended-sediment yield from the Oso Creek tributary subwatershed was 257 pounds per acre per year. Twenty-two herbicides and eight insecticides were detected in runoff samples collected from the two subwatershed outlet sites. At the West Oso Creek site, 18 herbicides and four insecticides were detected, and at the Oso Creek tributary site, 17 herbicides and six insecticides. Seventeen pesticides were detected in only one sample at low concentrations (near the laboratory reporting level). Atrazine, atrazine degradation byproducts 2-chloro-4-isopropylamino-6-amino-s-triazine (CIAT) and 2-hydroxy-4-isopropylamino-6-ethylamino-s-triazine (OIET), glyphosate, and glyphosate byproduct aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) were detected in all samples. Of all pesticides detected in runoff, the highest runoff yields were for glyphosate, 0.013 pound per acre per year for the West Oso Creek subwatershed and 0.001 pound per acre per year for the Oso Creek t

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hydrologic Conditions and Quality of Rainfall and Storm Runoff for Two Agricultural Areas of the Oso Creek Watershed, Nueces County, Texas, 2005-07
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2008-5103
Edition:
Version 1.0
Year Published:
2008
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
vi, 67 p.
Time Range Start:
2005-10-01
Time Range End:
2007-09-30