Landscape Indicators for Pesticides Study for Mid-Atlantic Coastal Streams
This project is the first study in a long term, national research program, the Landscape Indicators for Pesticides Studies (LIPS). The project is being conducted in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Streams (Figure 1 - Coastal Plain Watershed). The U.S. Geological Survey is collaborating in the study through the National Water Quality Assessment Program. The main goal of the project is to develop landscape indicator models, also termed "landscape indicators," for pesticides, nutrients, and toxic chemicals in stream water and sediments. Landscape indicator model development involves the statistical comparison of physical or biological data characterizing streams (e.g., nutrient, pesticide, or toxic chemical concentrations, or biotic community composition and abundance), with corresponding spatial information for the stream and its valley. Besides surficial landscape features such as land cover, slope, and stream features, this study will include data on soils and hydrogeologic conditions in the analyses.
With the experience gained from evaluating existing data, this study was designed to obtain collocated water quality, bed sediments, physical habitat, and benthic macroinvertebrate samples for first-order watersheds for a variety of geologic, hydrologic, and landscape settings, grouped by hydrogeologic conditions. The hydrogeologic conditions have been synthesized into a generalized framework of information on physiography, bulk texture of surficial sediments, topography, and subcropping geology (Figure 2 - Hydrogeological Framework). Seven units have been delineated within the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Each has relatively consistent, natural processes which are expected to govern the interchange of chemicals between surface and ground waters. Watersheds will be chosen to provide a variety of undeveloped to developed land cover types and rates of pesticide use (Figure 3 - MRLC Land use/Land Cover Data for Coastal Plain) and (Figure 4 - Agricultural Chemical Application Rates by County). Zones of tidal influence will be avoided (Figure 5 - Zones of Tidal Influence). The field study will take place during the spring, providing a one-time-only "snapshot" of streams across the entire area. Water samples will be collected under conditions which represent shallow ground water contributions to the streams (Figure 6 - USGS crew collecting water sample). Measurements proposed include pesticides, pesticide metabolites, nutrients, and major ions, for stream water; physical habitat surrounding the stream at the sampling point; benthic macroinvertebrate community composition and abundance; and pesticides and metals in bed sediments. Benthic macroinvertebrates, or benthos, are immature insects such as stonefly and mayfly nymphs, and crayfish, clams, snails, and worms which live on logs and rocks in streams. These data and indices based on these data will be the dependent variables, or response variables, in the landscape indicator models to be developed using independent variables such as land cover, topography, soil type, geologic and hydrologic characteristics, population density, length of roads in watersheds, and mean distance between roads and streams. The hydrogeologic framework unit will be evaluated as an explanatory variable in the landscape indicator models. In addition, the differences in results among the hydrogeologic framework units will be used to evaluate the hypotheses underlying the delineation of the units. This project is funded by the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment program, and is sharing data with other EPA projects within the same geographic area. When the study is complete, the data will be available to the public.
In areas with substantial agriculture, industry, or urban development, pesticides and nutrients, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals can affect water quality and biota in streams. The landscape setting, and the relative proportions of land uses combined with the topography and related physical features, are expected to be a significant factor in assessing a watersheds vulnerability to these stressors. Landscape indicators can characterize the landscape setting by statistically combining and summarizing relevant spatial data. Since measurements are not possible in every watershed because of cost and practical constraints, these landscape indicators may offer a means to efficiently estimate the vulnerability of streams to pesticides, nutrients, and other chemicals in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. In addition, identifying potential "hot spots," performing area-wide assessments, and testing of "what-if" scenarios are possible with landscape indicators (Figure 7 - Information flow and products for LIPS-MACS).
- Fact Sheet: Developing Landscape-Indicator Models for Pesticides and Nutrients in Streams of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, FS-157-00 (PDF) (4 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF]
- Research Plan: Testing
Landscape Indicators for Stream Condition Related to Pesticides and
Nutrients: Landscape Indicators for Pesticides Study for Mid-Atlantic
Coastal Streams (LIPS-MACS) (PDF) (91 pp, 702KB, About PDF) EPA/600/R-00/087.
- Poster: Landscape
Indicators for Pesticides StudyMid Atlantic Coastal StreamsDesign
Considerations, presented at International Society for Ecosystem Health (PDF),
August 16-18, 1999, Sacramento, CA. (1 pg, 2.3MB, About PDF)
- Poster: Landscape Indicators for Pesticides StudyMid-Atlantic Coastal StreamsOverview, presented at the Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA) Meeting (PDF), December 1-3, 1999. (1 pg, 9.2MB, About PDF)
- Ator, S.W., and M.J. Ferrari, 1997. Nitrate and selected
pesticides in ground water of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Water Resources
Investigation Report 97-4139, 8 p. http://md.water.usgs.gov/publications/wrir-97-4139/
- Ferrari, M.J., S.W. Ator, J.D. Blomquist, and J.E.
Dysart, 1997. Pesticides in surface water of the Mid-Atlantic region.
U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Investigations Report 97-4280,
12 p. http://md.water.usgs.gov/publications/wrir-97-4280/
- Jones et al., 2000, A National Assessment of Landscape Change and Impacts to Aquatic Resources, a 10-year Research Strategy for the Landscape Sciences Program. (PDF) (73 pp, 898KB, About PDF) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA/600/R-00/001.
|U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development||U.S. Geological Survey
Water Resources Division Baltimore District Office
National Exposure Research Laboratory
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Las Vegas, Nevada
|Ecological Exposure Research Division
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National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
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National Risk Management Research Laboratory
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