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TESTING THE EFFICACY OF PATTERNS IN CONDUCTIVITY AS A TOOL FOR WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

Increased conductivity of streams is a common symptom of watershed urbanization and is often highly correlated with degraded water quality and impaired biotic assemblages. Stormwater runoff, sewage effluent, and sediment inputs have all been cited as sources of ions that drive conductivity. However, it is often difficult to identify these sources of pollution and distinguish them from one another. In order to better understand the spatial and temporal patterns of conductivity we continuously monitored specific conductance (SpC), stage height, and temperature from October 2016 – April 2017 in seven streams in Athens, GA, USA. Baseflow SpC was consistent in time but variable among streams, suggesting chronic sources of ions in some urban streams. In addition, our study revealed distinct patterns of high conductivity that may be diagnostic of specific stressors and events, such as evidence of “first flush” phenomena, sewer leaks and sedimentation events. Thus, the continuous monitoring of conductivity may be an effective management tool for identifying specific pollution events. Ongoing work will test the efficacy of conductivity monitoring as a tool for watershed management.

Seth Wenger ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Georgia, sethwenger@fastmail.fm;


Amy Rosemond ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Georgia, rosemond@uga.edu;


Phillip Bumpers ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, bumpersp@gmail.com;


Emily Johnson (POC,Primary Presenter), emj49548@uga.edu;