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Assessing regional land-use/cover influences on New Jersey Pinelands streamflow through hydrograph analysis

1024 681 Stroud Water Research Center

Dow, C.L. 2007. Hydrological Processes 21:185–197.

doi:10.1002/hyp.6232

Abstract

Relative baseflow volume and streamflow flashiness indices were used to assess relationships between land use/cover and streamflow regime in nine New Jersey (NJ) Pinelands streams. Baseflow index (BFI) and Richards–Baker flashiness index (RBI) were estimated on an October–September water year, with period-of-record changes assessed by trend analysis and differences between watersheds assessed by examining index versus land-use/cover relationships using a data period common to all study sites. Four streams, among the more urbanized watersheds of the nine study sites, were found to have significant (α = 0·05) trends in both indices. The two most urbanized study sites showed decreasing baseflow and increasing flashiness; however, the other two streams showed the opposite trends. An apparent slowdown in urbanization towards the second half of the streamflow period of record, along with potential changes in wetland agricultural practices in the latter two watersheds, may explain their trend results. A marginally significant (α = 0·10) decreasing relationship was found between mean annual BFI and wetland agriculture, whereas a significant (α = 0·05) increasing relationship was determined between mean annual RBI and artificial lakes/reservoirs. Principal component analysis showed an association between wetland agriculture and artificial lakes/reservoirs which suggested that both of the significant index versus land-use/cover relationships reflect wetland agricultural activities. Because these significant relationships involved land uses/covers with small spatial extents (⩽5%), they demonstrated that land-use practices can have a greater impact than spatial extent on stream hydrology. This study is the first step in assessing the effect on the NJ Pinelands stream ecology by streamflow alteration due to wetland agricultural activities.

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