Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Melida Gutierrez


microbial source tracking, water contamination, land use, water quality, E. coli, fecal coliform bacteria, Bacteroides

Subject Categories

Bacteriology | Hydrology | Water Resource Management


Karst watersheds are an important resource that can be easily contaminated. The South Dry Sac Watershed near Springfield, MO presents a unique opportunity to study the combined effects of urban and rural runoff on a karst river system, as the system changes from rural to urban within the span of a few kilometers. Previous studies have indicated that the watershed is impaired by fecal bacteria, but sources of the bacteria were not investigated. This study traced sources of fecal coliform bacteria (bovine, human) in the watershed and related it to land use. Bovine source Bacteroides was prevalent throughout the field area, while human source Bacteroides was present in lower levels. Results indicate higher human fecal loading at sites located near areas using septic waste treatment. Additional water quality parameters helped distinguish water signatures of the urban from the rural areas within the watershed. The two most contaminated sites were tracked to both bovine and human sources, were downstream from known larger-scale cattle operations, and received drainage from unsewered portions of the study area. The range of values obtained and their variation with time provides a good framework for watershed management.


© Emily L. Sturnfield

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