University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is often the result of runoff losses from agricultural or urban areas. Even though the watershed approach to controlling NPS pollution is identified as the most efficient approach, data linking watershed scale land use and specific water quality implications are very limited. The objective of this study was to quantify the impact of agricultural land use on stream physico-chemical properties. The upper reach of Flint Creek was monitored at two sampling points draining an agricultural land. At each of these points, continuous measurement of stream characteristics such as temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, depth, pH, and conductivity were taken at three different dates. Also, water samples were collected and analyzed for nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations to discern the impact of agricultural land use on water quality. The results indicated that nitrate N (NO3-N) and phosphate P (PO4-P) concentrations increased as the agricultural land use increased in the watershed. Fluctuation in the DO concentration also increased with higher agricultural land use. In order to help decrease the amount of nutrients introduced to the stream, a variety of best management practices (BMPs) could be implemented in the watershed