Water Quality Assessment of the Suwannee River Basin
Bramblett, Jimmy R.
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The Suwannee River Basin has been the focus of an interstate Cooperative River Basin Study [CRBS] for the past two years. Federal, state, and local agencies along with a number of private organizations have identified and prioritized natural resource concerns, including the impact of nonpoint source pollution on water quality. Many of these concerns have been documented in a number of water quality reports published for each of the Suwannee River's six subbasins. The Natural Resources Conservation Service used a Pollution Load Screening Model [PLSM], during the CRBS, to estimate the annual loading of pollutants based on potential runoff characteristics derived from different types of land use, soil hydrologic groups, and rainfall distribution. Integrated with a Geographic Information System [GIS], the PLSM facilitated prioritization of watersheds in the Suwannee River Basin based on relative pollution potentials. A menu-driven user interface has also been developed to allow natural resource planners to review and analyze results from the PLSM as well as display maps of existing land and water features in the basin. Content of water quality reports, implementation of the PLSM, results of the PLSM, and PLSM practical applications are discussed. This model-based GIS application demonstrates the effectiveness of modern technologies in evaluating nonpoint source pollution data at a basin scale. It can be used by decision makers as a planning tool to better focus future efforts in the management of natural resources.