Sources and transport of phosphorus to rivers in California and adjacent states, U.S., as determined by SPARROW modeling

Journal of the American Water Resources Association
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Abstract

The SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regression on Watershed attributes) model was used to simulate annual phosphorus loads and concentrations in unmonitored stream reaches in California, U.S., and portions of Nevada and Oregon. The model was calibrated using de-trended streamflow and phosphorus concentration data at 80 locations. The model explained 91% of the variability in loads and 51% of the variability in yields for a base year of 2002. Point sources, geological background, and cultivated land were significant sources. Variables used to explain delivery of phosphorus from land to water were precipitation and soil clay content. Aquatic loss of phosphorus was significant in streams of all sizes, with the greatest decay predicted in small- and intermediate-sized streams. Geological sources, including volcanic rocks and shales, were the principal control on concentrations and loads in many regions. Some localized formations such as the Monterey shale of southern California are important sources of phosphorus and may contribute to elevated stream concentrations. Many of the larger point source facilities were located in downstream areas, near the ocean, and do not affect inland streams except for a few locations. Large areas of cultivated land result in phosphorus load increases, but do not necessarily increase the loads above those of geological background in some cases because of local hydrology, which limits the potential of phosphorus transport from land to streams.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sources and transport of phosphorus to rivers in California and adjacent states, U.S., as determined by SPARROW modeling
Series title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12326
Volume 51
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 24 p.
First page 1463
Last page 1486
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