Oklahoma Water Resources Center

2012 Funded Projects

2012 reports

Click on the title to view this year's project report.

 

Impact of Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent on Nitrogen Cycling by Stream Bacteria

Principle Investigators:
Cindy Cisar (NSU), Jonathan Fisher (NSU), and Joy Van Nostrand (OU)

The objective of this project is to initiate an analysis of the effects of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluent on nitrogen use by bacteria in Oklahoma streams. In addition to baseline information on nitrogen cycling, new information will be obtained on the effect(s) of antibiotics on stream bacteria. The PIs will include the preliminary data obtained from this study in a grant proposal to be submitted to the National Science Foundation.


Identifying Nutrient Pathways to Streams: Sediment and Phosphorus Loads from Streambank Erosion and Failure in the Illinois River Watershed

Principle Investigators:
Garey Fox (OSU), Daniel E. Storm (OSU), and Chad Penn (OSU)

Streambank erosion is known to contribute a majority of the total sediment load to streams and rivers in some watersheds. In fact, sediment loads and streambank stability have been major concerns for decades and billions of dollars have been spent on streambank stabilization. In many cases, sediment loads introduced into streams may contain sorbed phosphorus. Various state and federal agencies, including the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC), have invested heavily in riparian protection in the Illinois River watershed for both sediment and phosphorus mitigation. Riparian protection can significantly decrease streambank erosion in some locations, but estimates of actual load reductions in both sediment and sediment-bound phosphorus (P) due to implementation of riparian protection are limited. The objective of this research is to monitor and numerically model streambanks with and without implemented riparian management practices to derive sediment and P load reduction estimates from streambank protection.


Quantitative assessment of climate variability and land surface change on streamflow decrease in the Upper Cimarron River

Principle Investigators:
Chris Zou (OSU), Jianjun Ge (OSU), and William Andrews (USGS)

Long-term water resource planning and in-stream flow management implementation require improved understanding of how climate, land cover changes, and human activities collectively affect streamflow. A downward trend in total streamflow for several rivers in north-central and northwest Oklahoma over the last several decades has been identified despite of an overall upward trend in precipitation. This downward trend mirrored the notable declines of fisheries communities during the past 30 years, including the endangered Arkansas shiner in the Cimarron River. Streamflow trend is primarily driven by precipitation trend and the divergence between those two suggests an increasing role of land surface change, such as woody plant encroachment, land use change and alluvial aquifer withdrawal. However, the relative contribution of these components for long-term streamflow trends for many of the river basins in Oklahoma remains largely unknown.

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