IMPACT OF WATERSHED LAND USE ON WATER QUALITY IN NORTHERN ETHIOPIAN HEADWATER STREAMS
Scattered across the Amhara Region in northern Ethiopia are some 19,000 church forests, the last few remaining fragments of indigenous Afromontane forests in Ethiopia. Local communities use church forest streams for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Streams may be polluted due to soil erosion and fecal waste. Our study examines whether streams in Ethiopia are more polluted from erosion when surrounded by agriculture, grazing, and urbanization as opposed to streams surrounded by church forests. We have collected total suspended solid (TSS) filters at 15 sites, 5 per stream reach, along an Ethiopian headwater stream (Qusquam Mariam) across a gradient of agricultural to forested land cover every two weeks for eight weeks. We paired field-sampling results with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis to relate examine the role of riparian land use on over time. TSS in forested reaches averaged 8 mg L-1, and increased to 40 mg L-1 in agricultural reaches of the stream. Findings suggest riparian forest vegetation reduces soil input to the streams, even in watersheds that are dominated by agriculture. We are continuing bi-weekly sample collection through the rainy season to determine how these trends vary over time.
Denise Bruesewitz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Colby College, email@example.com;
Atalel Wubalem (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Bahir Dar University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Travis Reynolds (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Colby College, email@example.com ;
Taylor Garner (Primary Presenter/Author), Hawai'i Pacific University , firstname.lastname@example.org;