Modeling Nutrient Export From Coastal California Watersheds

Authors


  • Paper No. JAWRA-11-0118-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA).

Abstract

Nitrate and phosphate export coefficient models were developed for coastal watersheds along the Santa Barbara Channel in central California. One approach was based on measurements of nutrient fluxes in streams from specific land use classes and included a watershed response function that scaled export up or down depending on antecedent moisture conditions. The second approach for nutrient export coefficient modeling used anthropogenic nutrient loading for land use classes and atmospheric nutrient deposition to model export. In an application of the first approach to one watershed, the nitrate and phosphate models were within 20% of measured values for most storms. When applied to another year, both nitrate and phosphate models generally performed adequately with annual, storm-flow, and base-flow values within 20% of measured nutrient loadings. Less satisfactory results were found when applied to neighboring watersheds with difference percentages of land use and hydrologic conditions. Application of the second approach was less successful than the first approach.

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