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Zampella, R. A. 1994. Characterization of surface water quality along a watershed disturbance gradient. Water Resources Bulletin. 30:605-611. (Summary)

Using data collected by the U. S. Geological Survey, I characterized the water quality of 14 New Jersey Pinelands (Pine Barrens) stream sites in relation to urban and agricultural land uses. My analysis revealed a gradient of increasing pH, specific conductance, and concentrations of dissolved calcium, dissolved magnesium, total nitrite + nitrate-nitrogen, total ammonia-nitrogen, and total phosphorus that paralleled a watershed-disturbance gradient of increasing land-use intensity and wastewater flow. Very low pH and nitrite + nitrate-nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium concentrations distinguished water quality in the four least-disturbed streams from all other stream stations. Ammonia-nitrogen concentrations were low in all but the four most highly disturbed streams. These four disturbed streams also displayed the highest total phosphorus concentrations. The water-quality characteristics of streams located at opposite ends of the watershed-disturbance gradient remained relatively distinct regardless of the season. I concluded that watershed disturbance can have a substantial effect on natural water chemistry in the Pinelands.

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