Temporal Variability of Water Quality Parameters in Two Creeks of the Collins River Sub-watershed Dominated by Nursery Crop Production

Sarah K Hovis, Tennessee State University


In Middle Tennessee, particularly Warren County, there exists a large concentration of nursery crop production. Agricultural operations such as tilling, plowing, fertilizing and liming can contribute to the degradation of adjacent water bodies. The Collins River, located in the Collins River sub watershed, is on the EPA's 303 (d) list of impaired streams. As such, the objective of this study was to determine the changes in water quality parameters over the course of different seasons as well as the impact field nursery operations could have on the water quality of nearby water bodies. Samples were taken over the course of three (3) eight week sampling seasons, designated summer, winter, and spring. Two inflow creeks to the Collins River were sampled, Hills Creek and Mountain Creek, located in Warren County, Tennessee. An additional creek, East Fork Stones River in Rutherford County, Tennessee, was used as a control sampling site as there are very few nursery crop production operations in the area, in contrast to Warren County. Grab water samples were collected and analyzed for nitrate-N, ammonium-N and Ortho phosphate; as well as the following cations: potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium. In situ monitoring using a Manta2 datasondes recorded the pH, turbidity, specific conductance (SpCond), dissolved oxygen (DO), total dissolved solids (TDS) and temperature of each stream. Data was subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the General Linear Model (GLM) procedures of SAS Institute and differences in stream water quality parameters in response to seasonal variation, location of sampling and their interactions were tested at p < 0.05 to determine significance of results. Hills Creek and Mountain Creek did not show concentrations of cations or values of water quality parameters significantly outside of allowable levels during base flow conditions. During storm events, however, surface runoff contributed large volumes of sediment to the water bodies, especially in areas with exposed soil and minimal or no conservation practices.

Subject Area

Conservation|Soil sciences|Agricultural economics|Water Resource Management

Recommended Citation

Sarah K Hovis, "Temporal Variability of Water Quality Parameters in Two Creeks of the Collins River Sub-watershed Dominated by Nursery Crop Production" (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1541414.