Segment Analysis of the Bergholz Creek Watershed of Niagara County, New York
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Stressed Stream Analysis
Lake Ontario Watershed Management
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AbstractWater resources play a vital role in the economic viability of the Niagara County region, especially in terms of recreation, tourism, and industry. A large percentage of land use is in agriculture, including fruit trees, row crops, and vineyards. The close proximity to Lakes Erie and Ontario has an impact on climate patterns (including rainfall and lake effect snow), moderating the temperature extremes of the region which allows for the production of a diverse variety of crops. Freshwater resources have historically played an instrumental role in community development and economic sustainability. The Bergholz Creek watershed in Niagara County plays an important role in the economy, has aesthetic value, and provides diverse opportunities for those who enjoy the resource directly. A major thrust of the county's tourism industry is predicated on the availability of high quality water resources and angling opportunities in the Niagara River, nearshore Lake Ontario and its other tributaries. Needless to say, agriculture also has a major economic impact in Niagara County; loss of important resources, such as soil and nutrients, from a watershed is of concern to the landowner and the Soil and Water Conservation District. Remediation and protection of these resources depend largely on the identification of both the cause and effect of elements likely to reduce their economic and social value (Makarewicz and Lewis 2000). This led to the creation of monitoring program to collect data needed to accurately characterize the water quality in the creek and to quantify the concentration and loading of nutrients and suspended sediments transported from Eighteenmile Creek to Lake Ontario. A conclusion was that Eighteenmile Creek value was delivering high amounts of phosphorus to Lake Ontario. Eighteenmile Creek lost an annual average of 33 metric tons of TP during the two-year monitoring period. In a similar fashion, Twelvemile Creek was evaluated in 2000 (Makarewicz and Lewis 2000a). One of the priority recommendations from the Makarewicz et al. (2008) report was that the following group of watersheds be targeted for the identification of point and/or nonpoint sources of pollution using a process such as Stressed Stream Analysis/Segment Analysis: Eighteenmile, Jeddo, Bergholz, Tonawanda, and Keg Creeks. A stressed stream or segment analysis of the Eighteenmile Creek watershed was completed by The College at Brockport and the NCSWCD in 2010 (Makarewicz and Lewis 2010). This study follows the 2008 list of recommendations by targeting the Bergholz Creek watershed to identify point and nonpoint sources of pollution using segment analysis.
DescriptionPrepared for the Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District Project Funded by the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA)