Using GIS to Evaluate Erosion as a Potential Pathway for Nutrient Pollution in Little Kickapoo Creek, Illinois Kelly Hayden
Background • Agriculture in Midwest is overloading streams with nutrients from fertilizers • Causes: surface runoff, tile drainage, groundwater flow, erosion • It’s creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico • Currently it’s the size of New Jersey serc.carleton.edu
Agricultural Erosion • Erosion of farmland contributes nutrients to streams • Fertilizers applied to cropland have high levels of nitrate and phosphate • Nitrate in groundwater and runoff • Phosphate binds to soil www.glc.org
Urban Erosion • Urban erosion • Not many nutrients • Adds sediment to streams • Increased runoff causes bank failure • Channel cementation • Suspended sediment laep.ced.berkeley.edu/blakegarden
Calculating watershed erosion risk • Many methods require extensive field data • Stream Power Index (SPI) • Uses GIS • Little data required • Fast • Inexpensive • Calculates overland flow • Identifies areas for erosion control • Evaluates management plans
Previous studies • Cover et al, 2008 – used SPI as a guide to adjust an erosion model, evaluate erosion’s effect on fish • Pike et al, 2009 – assess erosion to establish prevention methods • Faivre et al, 2011 – stream morphology, formation of gullies during storm events • Galzki, 2009 – locate areas in agricultural watershed with high erosion, determine risk for nutrient loading
Study location Little Kickapoo Creek (LKC) Located in central Illinois Location of thesis research
The question • Is erosion a possible pathway for nutrient loading in LKC? • What is the extent of LKC and the LKC watershed? • What type of land cover is present in the watershed? And how might the land cover contribute to nutrient loading of LKC? • Where within the LKC watershed is there the highest potential for erosion?
Methods • Data • DEM • Land cover • Calculating SPI • Flow direction and flow accumulation rasters • Delineate watershed • Slope • Raster calculator • SPI = flow accumulation * slope • LN[RawSPIraster] • Categorize • High numbers means high risk for erosion
Results LKC watershed Starts in Bloomington Discharges to Kickapoo Creek in Randolph 76 km2
Slope Red is high slope Green is low slope Slope is highest along the stream Can see the Bloomington End Moraine
SPI High values are red Low values are green High values mean high risk for erosion
SPI Removed low values to make it easier to see Areas of high erosion located along LKC Bloomington End Moraine increases erosion potential
Discussion and conclusion • Urban erosion risk may not be accurately calculated by SPI • Need to observe condition of LKC in the urban area • Erosion in LKC watershed occurs along stream • Most of the stream flows through agricultural lands • High potential for nutrient contamination by erosion
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