B.S. (Bachelor of Science)
Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences
The Vermilion River Watershed located in Livingston County in Central Illinois provides for study of nutrient cycling in an agricultural environment. The watershed is bounded by county boundaries which allows for calculation of agricultural nutrient input and output. The study presented in this paper investigates concentration of the Nitrate (NO^) compound present in the Vermilion River and attempts to correlate increased agricultural related nutrient concentration present in river water and precipitation events during the Spring planting season in Central Illinois. The Vermilion river was sampled prior to Spring agricultural planting activity and continued throughout the Spring planting season with sampling termination at the end of the month of Hay. In addition, sampling of the river was attempted on a weekly basis with emphasis on obtaining data which reflected significant Spring precipitation events. Data gathered during this study produce three main cone 1 us i ons: 1. A direct correlation between significant precipitation events and elevated Nitrate concentrations in Vermillion river water provide evidence that agricultural Nitrogen is migrating from the application site, ultimately impacting Vermilion river water quality. 2. Nitrate flux or Nitrogen output in the Vermilion river drainage basin is greatly influenced by precipitation events in which a flushing event results in decreased Nitrogen concentrations in river water followed by an elevated Nitrogen concentration as the river stage decreases. 3. As the Spring planting season progresses the average concentration of Nitrate carried in the water drained by the Vermillion watershed increases over time as total rainfall accumulation increases regardless of flushing precipitation events which indicates a steady increase in Nitrogen flux in river water- discharge as the spring planting season progresses. Note: The original study concept had intended to analyze Phosphate in Vermilion river water in addition to Nitrate. Due to a blocking problem encountered during the laboratory analytical procedure, unreliable Phosphate analytical data was obtained and the focus of the study was narrowed to Nitrate concentrations in Vermilion river water.
Palmer, Donald H. Jr., "Nitrogen cycling in an agricultural watershed" (1995). Honors Capstones. 836.
33 unnumbered pages
Northern Illinois University
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