Date of Award
Master of Science
Integrated Environmental Sciences
Joseph E. Garcia, Ph.D.
David W. Buckalew, Ph.D.
Mrs. Frances Zaun
The Sayler's Creek watershed is located within Prince Edward County, Nottoway, and Amelia Counties of the south central region of Virginia. The Sayler's Creek Watershed consists of two small creeks: Big Sayler's Creek and Little Sayler's Creek. The Environmental Protection Agency has Big Sayler's Creek listed as impaired and not Little Sayler's Creek. Based upon visual inspections of the Sayler's Creek watershed throughout the year, Little Sayler's Creek is inlpaired for fecal coliform instead of Big Sayler's Creek. Another hypothesis of this study is that fecal coliform levels are directly related to runoff from cattle ranches in the immediate floodplain of this river basin. The objectives of this study was to attempt to prove or support that there is a positive relationship between discharge and fecal coliform concentration and to analyze hydrologic conditions and fecal coliform concentrations in order to assist in an accurate determination of fecal coliform loads in Sayler's Creek.
Five sites were chosen for the study due to their accessibility. Cross sectional profiles, depths, and current velocities were measured at each site. Hydrologic and Microbiological data was regressed and graphically analyzed to determine the significance of relationships.
Within the watershed as a whole.the analyses show a statistically significant relationship between discharge and fecal coliform concentration (p-value = 0.004). Statistical analysis for each site was performed as well to examine the results obtained for the overall watershed. Fecal coliform loads are comparatively higher in Little Sayler's Creek than in Big Sayler's Creek.
Within the watershed as a whole, there is evidence to support that fecal coliform concentration is related to stream discharge. Comparatively speaking, Big Sayler's Creek has higher discharge values overall in the four flow stages. However, Little Sayler's Creek has a higher fecal coliform load.
The results from this study indicate that both Big Sayler's Creek and Little Sayler's Creek are impaired with respect to fecal coliform standards. More research is needed to accurately determine the level and potential causes of the fecal coliform impairment inthe Sayler's Creek watershed. To determine the extent of impairment, hydrologic characteristics need to be determined. Loads of fecal coliform, instead of concentration, is a necessary determination to better assess the actual amounts of fecal coliform that is being delivered by the Sayler's Creek System. This data can be used to set a priority ranking for the Sayler's Creek Watershed. This method would incorporate hydrologic characteristics into the TMDL decision-making process.
Gilbert, David Straton, "An Evaluation of Stream Flow Characteristics and Fecal Coliform Loads in Sayler's Creek Watershed, South Central Virginia" (2000). Theses, Dissertations & Honors Papers. 286.