Water Quality Changes in Streams Located Near Urban Areas of the Northern Gulf Coast during Extreme Precipitation Events

Alexander Maestre, Derek Williamson, Amy Ward


The Northern Gulf Coastal Hazards Collaboratory (NGCHC) is interested in advancing the science and engineering of coastal hazards across southern states of the U.S. including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. One of the strategies of the collaboratory is to share and distribute reference implementation models that enable multi-disciplinary collaborations that motivate the research and development in Coastal Hazards.

One of the strategies developed by the collaboratory involves the generation of a hydraulic and hydrological model that evaluates inland flooding conditions, and ecosystem impact under extreme precipitation events (including tropical storms and hurricanes.) The University of Alabama is interested on the effects that these extreme events might cause to streams and rivers located near urban cities located along coastal areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is expected that the coastal population located in the five states of the Gulf of Mexico will increase from 44.2 million (1995 Census) to 61.4 million in 2025.

To understand the changes in water quality and water quantity of streams located near urban areas of the Gulf Coast, we have conducted statistical analysis of the samples collected by local and state agencies using the STOre and RETrieveal (STORET) Data Warehouse. In addition, we have analyzed daily water discharges from nearby stream gaging stations, and daily precipitation from major airports located along the Gulf Coast. The statistical analyses were completed using parametric survival regressions as those implemented in the tool Weighted Regressions in Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

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