College of Science

Watershed Environments and Ecology Lab Projects

Predicting specific conductivity in streams and rivers

This project aims to first develop a model predicting how specific conductivity (SC, a measure of salinity) that varies naturally among all streams in the continental U.S. in both space and time, and examine how drought affects natural background SC. In addition, we can determine the amount of alteration that has occurred in SC, and then model this alteration as function of human activity (e.g., land use, road density, etc). Predictions of background SC will be used by federal and state agencies in developing water quality criteria that account for natural variation. These predictions are also being applied to biological models to predict the loss of biota that might be expected to occur with increased salinity.