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Title: Relating stream microbial ecology to land-use in the Choptank River Watershed

item NINO DE GUZMAN, G - University Of Maryland
item Hapeman, Cathleen
item Shelton, Daniel
item Rice, Clifford
item Codling, Eton
item Millner, Patricia
item TORRENTS, A - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: BARC Poster Day
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2010
Publication Date: 4/21/2010
Citation: Nino De Guzman, G., Hapeman, C.J., Shelton, D.R., Rice, C., Codling, E.E., Millner, P.D., Torrents, A. 2010. Relating stream microbial ecology to land-use in the Choptank River Watershed. BARC Poster Day.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The Choptank River is an estuary and tributary on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay whose mouth is a tidal embayment that spans 2057 km2. Approximately 60% of land use in the Choptank River Watershed is agricultural, with large acreages of corn (Zea mays), soybean (Glycine max), wheat (Triticum aestivum), and barley (Hordeum vulgare). Much of the grain production supports small- and medium-sized animal feeding operations, mostly poultry with some dairy and horse husbandry. Manure from poultry houses is routinely recycled as a fertilizer on agricultural production fields. The purpose of this work is to examine the type and extent of agriculturally-related chemicals downstream of a poultry operation and to assess whether the local agricultural activities influence the microbial ecology and the water quality of adjacent surface water. The potential relative contributions of poultry production are compared to other agricultural contributions. The effectiveness of mitigation practices used to prevent surface water contamination is also considered. Water and sediment samples were analyzed for antibiotics, nutrients, pesticides, heavy metals, and certain pathogenic bacteria. Other water quality parameters and flow data were also analyzed. Preliminary results indicate that As and P concentrations are not influenced by the poultry facility during the summer and fall, and that higher nitrogen concentrations may be due to shallow groundwater table and historic use of fertilizer.