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Data on the chemical quality of baseflow from 33 small streams that drain basins of differing land-use type and intensity within the Croton watershed were collected seasonally for 1 year to identify and characterize the quality of ground-water contributions to surface water. The watershed includes twelve of New York City?s water-supply reservoirs. Baseflow samples were collected a minimum of three days after the most recent precipitation and were analyzed for major ions, boron, and nutrients. Findings ? ? Concentrations of selected chemical constituents in baseflow were strongly affected by the predominant land use in a given basin. Land uses included forested undeveloped, unsewered residential, sewered residential, and agricultural (horse and dairy farms). ? A positive linear relation was indicated for chloride concentration in baseflow and the basin?s annual rate of road-salt application (or density of two-lane roads). Chloride concentration exhibits a relatively stable relation to road-salt application rate or 2-lane road density throughout the year. ? Positive linear relations were indicated for nitrate concentration in baseflow and the basins unsewered housing density. Nitrate is characterized by a different relation to unsewered housing density for each season, with the highest observed nitrate concentrations during the winter and the lowest concentrations during the summer. ? Baseflow nitrate concentrations in sewered basins, and in unsewered basins with riparian wetland buffers between residential development and the stream, were lower than concentrations predicted from unsewered-housing density.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Effects of residential and agricultural land uses on the chemical quality of baseflow of small streams in the Croton Watershed, southeastern New York
Water-Resources Investigations Report
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