Effect of soils on water quantity and quality in Piedmont forested headwater watersheds of North Carolina
Water quantity and quality data were compared from six headwater watersheds on two distinct soil formations, Carolina Slate Belt (CSB) and Triassic Basins (TB). CSB soils are generally thicker, less erodible, and contain less clay content than soils found in TB. TB generated significantly more discharge/precipitation ratio than CSB (0.33 vs. 0.24) in the 2009 dormant season. In the 2009 growing season, TB generated significantly less discharge/precipitation ratio than CSB (0.02 vs. 0.07). Over the entire monitoring period, differences in discharge/precipitation ratios between CSB and TB were not significantly different (0.17 vs. 0.20, respectively). Storm-flow rates were significantly higher in TB than CSB in both dormant and growing season. Benthic macroinvertebrate biotic index scores were excellent for all streams. Nutrient concentrations and exports in CSB and TB were within background levels for forests. Low-stream nitrate and ammonium concentrations and exports suggested that both CSB and TB were nitrogen limited. Soils appear to have had a significant influence on seasonal and storm-flow generation, but not on long-term total water yield and water quality under forested conditions. This study indicated that watersheds on TB soils might be more prone to storm-flow generation than on CSB soils when converted from forest to urban. Future urban growth in the area should consider differences in baseline hydrology and effects of landuse change on water quantity and quality.
You can order print copies of our publications through our publication ordering system. Make a note of the publication you wish to request, and visit our Publication Order Site.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unuseable.
- To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.