Water quality and exurbanization in southern Appalachian streams
Research at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in western North Carolina, USA, began over 75 years ago and for most of that time was focused on intensive and long-term study of small catchments. The Coweeta research presented 20 years ago at the Conservation and Management of Rivers Conference in 1990 followed that tradition by synthesizing the results of intensive study of one small stream responding to catchment deforestation (Webster et al., 1992). Research by scientists now working at Coweeta has gone beyond single catchments and even beyond the boundaries of the laboratory itself. They are now studying streams and catchments throughout the Upper Little Tennessee River Basin of the southern Appalachian Mountains (Plate 13). This shift reflects the expansion of ecological research from site-based science to regional and global scales (Peters et al., 2008) as well as the expansion of its conceptual scope to embrace other scientific disciplines (Liu et al., 2007; Collins et al., 2010). These shifts are not only taking place in ecological research in the United States, but in many other areas of the world (du Cros et al., 2004; Maass et al., 2010; Metzger et al., 2010).