Water-quality Monitoring in Gwinnett County
Ankcorn, Paul D.
Landers, Mark N.
Vick, Janet P.
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In 85 percent of streams and 99 percent of lakes in Georgia that do not meet designated uses, nonpoint sources of contaminants are the cause (Georgia Environmental Protection Division, 1999). Gwinnett County, in Metropolitan Atlanta, Ga., continues as one of the most rapidly growing areas in the United States. Nonpoint-source pollution is highly complex, because it arises from varied, dynamic, and interrelated sources— especially in areas of urban growth. Nonpoint-source pollution and its relation to rapidly changing land-use conditions is a major concern in Gwinnett County. Water-quality degradation or improvement due to changes in watershed land use and management typically occur over time scales of years. However, water-quality conditions have high variability over the short term, and both acute and chronic conditions are important. Understanding the various changes and processes that affect water quality requires a watershed- monitoring program that includes intensive, long-term monitoring of streamwater quality and watershed characteristics.