Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Plant and Environmental Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Debabrata Sahoo

Committee Member

Dr. Calvin Sawyer

Committee Member

Dr. Dara Park

Committee Member

Dr. Sarah White


The United States invests billions of dollars annually to perform stream restoration projects, yet few studies have investigated the effects ecological manipulation has on nutrient cycling and associated water quality. Water quality improvement remains a substantial motivation for mitigating catchment scale disturbances, especially in urban streams. Various land use practices impact the transfer and transport of nutrients such as ammonium (NH4-N), nitrate plus nitrite (NO3-N + NO2-N) and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) from land into the flowing waters of a watershed. The uptake length (Sw), or the distance (m) a dissolved nutrient travels downstream within a stream reach, can be measured using short-term nutrient injections; shorter uptake lengths suggest greater nutrient retention. This study evaluated the efficacy of utilizing nutrient injection experiments as a monitoring tool to assess nutrient retention efficiency in a first-order restored (RCR) and unrestored (RCUN) stream segment within the Piedmont Ecoregion of South Carolina. Results show mean SRP-Sw and NH4-N-Sw did not differ significantly between sites, however, collectively NH4-N-Sw was significantly shorter in the summer. This urban stream was a source of NO3-N + NO2-N transport, however, the restored pools showed trapping efficiency in all nutrient concentrations and should be prioritized in stream restoration efforts. To enhance the efficacy of nutrient spiraling methods, we advise background water quality data to be readily available to determine the solute injection concentration.

Available for download on Friday, May 31, 2024

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