Date of Graduation

Summer 2001


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Robert Pavlowsky

Subject Categories

Geographic Information Sciences | Hydrology | Sedimentology


Degraded ·water quality in the James River Arm of Table Rock Lake, southwest Missouri has raised concerns about sources and transport of nutrients, especially phosphorus, in the James River Basin. Sections of the James River Basin have been identified as having excessive nutrient problems on the Missouri Department of Natural Resources 303d list and ranked fifth in the state for water quality improvements. Understanding the sources and transport patterns of phosphorus in the James River is necessary to evaluate contamination problems and the effectiveness of management efforts to reduce phosphorus inputs to the lake. This study uses bed sediments to monitor the concentrations and spatial patterns of phosphorus in the James River Basin. Fine-grained sediments were collected from eighty sites located by a Global Positioning System (GPS) during a two-week period in the summer of 1999. These samples were dried and put through a 2 mm sieve, evaluated for sand and organic matter, and analyzed for "acid extractable" total phosphorus and metals. A Geographic Information System (GIS)-based approach was used to delineate the drainage area above each site and determine the land use characteristics of the each sub-watershed. Sediment-Phosphorus concentrations in the James River Basin average 366 ug/g and ranged from 100 ug/g to 1,960 μgig. The highest concentrations are found immediately below wastewater treatment plant outfalls. The lowest concentrations were found at sites where the land cover of the contributing drainage area was mostly forested. The spatial distribution of phosphorus is described by a multivariate regression equation (r2=0.78) consisting of three predictors: (1) dilution factor related to the loading of wastewater treatment p1ant effluents; (2) organic matter content of the sediment; and (3) percent forested land cover in the drainage area of the sampling site. There is a strong positive relationship between phosphorus in bed sediments and phosphorus in overlying water column data in the basin. The resuls of this study could be used to better understand the influence of point and nonpoint sources of phosphorus in watersheds on phosphorus contamination problems in rivers and lakes.


© Briain Fredrick

Open Access