Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Haggard, Brian

Committee Member/Reader

Costello, Thomas

Committee Member/Second Reader

Mahmoud, Ahmed


It is well documented that human activity influences the chemistry of surrounding waters. As such, it is possible that there is a link between land use within a watershed and the chemical composition of the stream. The objectives of this study are to determine if varied land use does affect the concentrations of macronutrients and trace elements present in the streams of Northwest Arkansas, and if so, to determine what extent urban and agricultural development are responsible for these changes. Water samples were collected across 19 streams in the Northwest Arkansas region between January and March of 2022. Water samples were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma optical emissions spectrometry analysis to determine concentrations of aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, barium, boron, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, potassium, selenium, sodium, titanium, vanadium, and zinc. Watershed land use categories were determined via the Model My Watershed tool (, using the Land Use/Cover 2019 data.

In the selected streams, significant positive correlations were found between urban land use and mean concentrations of boron, copper, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Significant positive correlations were also found between agricultural land use and mean concentrations of barium and potassium across all stream sites, while negative correlations were found between agricultural land use and mean magnesium and zinc concentrations. No positive correlations between forested land use and any elemental concentration were found, but negative correlations between forested land use and mean concentrations of calcium, copper, potassium, and sodium were found. The data suggests that urban and agricultural development are the primary drivers of these trends.


Biological Engineering, Land Use, Streams, Elemental Concentrations, Northwest Arkansas