Spatial and Temporal Changes in Land Use and Water Quality in Endangered Cape Fear Shiner Habitats

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Title: Spatial and Temporal Changes in Land Use and Water Quality in Endangered Cape Fear Shiner Habitats
Author: Reckling, Stacie
Abstract: Reckling, Stacie. Master of Environmental Assessment. Spatial and Temporal Changes in Land Use and Water Quality in Endangered Cape Fear Shiner Habitats. The Cape Fear shiner (Notropis mekistocholas) is an endangered minnow species endemic to the Cape Fear watershed. The future existence of the shiner is threatened largely by degraded water quality and population fragmentation by dams. An important factor that can affect the quality of a surface water body is the land use within its watershed. Using a geographic information system (GIS), we created a unique watershed which drained to Cape Fear shiner habitats and we analyzed how anthropogenic land use in the watershed had changed between 1974 and 2012. We also obtained water quality data collected during the same time period at five North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) monitoring stations located in Cape Fear shiner habitats. Measurements of several common water quality indicators including specific conductance, temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform and total phosphorus were aggregated and analyzed for changes over time. Between 1974 and 2012, the greatest shifts in land use occurred for land classified as “low usage” which decreased by 16.9% and land classified as “semi-developed” or “developed” which gained 14.8% and 2.5% respectively. A Regional Kendall test revealed statistically significant trends for increasing specific conductance levels and decreasing fecal coliform levels in the watershed during the time period from 1992 to 2002. However, maximum monthly fecal coliform levels at each of the five monitoring stations exceeded North Carolina’s Class C surface water standards. If present trends continue, development of land within this watershed may further impact water quality in Cape Fear shiner habitats.
Date: 2019-06
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/36720


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