Understanding the Mechanisms Controlling the Concentration-Discharge Relationships of Streams in Northeastern and North Midwestern United States
Date of Award
Open Access Master's Thesis
Master of Science in Forest Ecology and Management (MS)
Administrative Home Department
College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Analysis of concentration-discharge (C-Q) power-law relationships (C=aQb) is a powerful diagnostic tool to unravel solute export processes. However, application to watersheds with less intensive data can be difficult due to unexplained variation in C-Q behavior. To tackle this problem, I started my study at a small but data-intensive watershed in Vermont and then applied the insights to 138 watersheds throughout the Great Lakes Basin (GLB). I found that an increase in solute concentrations from shallow to deep flowpaths results in chemodynamic dilution (negative b-coefficient), a decrease produces chemodynamic flushing (positive b-coefficient). When applied to GLB, I found that nutrients and other contaminants in inflows are dominated by those in surficial soils rather than groundwater. Shallow and deep flowpaths are decoupled in urbanized areas, resulting in reduced capacity in contaminant buffering. Under future conditions of increasing urban areas and agriculture, solute export will become more enriched for nutrients.
Porter, Veronica, "Understanding the Mechanisms Controlling the Concentration-Discharge Relationships of Streams in Northeastern and North Midwestern United States", Open Access Master's Thesis, Michigan Technological University, 2020.