An Analysis of the Ecological Health of Urban Streams in Atlanta, Georgia Open Access

Noorani, Shamim Altaf (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/s4655h20t?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract
An Analysis of the Ecological Health of Urban Streams in Atlanta, Georgia
By Shamim Altaf Noorani

Atlanta, Georgia is one of the largest and fastest growing metropolitan cities in the United States and is a headquarters for business industry as well as air and water pollution. Urbanization has increased the impact of anthropogenic effects and this has adversely affected the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the streams and creeks that run through the city's landscape. This study conducted a water quality analysis to assess the ecological health of three creeks in the metropolitan Atlanta area: Tanyard Creek, Peavine Creek, and Stone Mountain Creek. Each creek was assessed for physical properties such as water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH; chemical properties that measured the nutrient and metal concentration of ammonia, phosphate, nitrate, and copper; and a biological analysis that surveyed the population and order richness of macroinvertebrates in the creek. Frequency distributions and non-parametric tests were used to evaluate if there were statistically significant differences between the physical and chemical parameters of the creeks. Mean and median nitrate and phosphorus levels as well as the overall biological assessment score of the creeks were the main parameters that showed significant differences between creeks and were thus used to determine the ecological health ranking of the creeks. It was hypothesized that Stone Mountain Creek would have the best ecological health, followed by Peavine Creek with intermediate health, and then Tanyard Creek with the poorest health; however, results from this study suggested that Stone Mountain Creek had the best health, followed by Tanyard Creek with intermediate health, and Peavine Creek with the worst ecological health.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Preliminary Pages...i
Abstract...v
Acknowledgements...vii
Table of Contents...viii
List of Tables...ix
List of Figures...x
Introduction...1

Background...2

Creeks...2
Physical Parameters...4
Chemical Parameters...6
Biological Parameters...10

Methods...11

Study Design...11
Water Collection...12
Physical Parameters...13
Chemical Parameters...14
Biological Parameter...14
Data Analysis...15

Results...16

Descriptive Statistics...16
Distribution...19
Non-Parametric Tests...20
Biological Assessment...21
Ecological Health...23

Discussion...27

Data Analysis...27
Physical Exposure Assessment...29
Chemical Exposure Assessment...32
Biological Exposure Assessment...36
Ecological Health Assessment...37
Limitations...39

Conclusion...42
Appendix A: Figures...43
Appendix B: Tables...55
Literature Cited...61


List of Figures
Figure 1 Google Earth Image of Tanyard Creek...43
Figure 2 Google Earth Image of Peavine Creek...44
Figure 3 Google Earth Image of Stone Mountain Creek...45
Figure 4 Frequency Graph comparing mean dissolved oxygen levels...46
Figure 5 Frequency Graph comparing mean pH levels...46
Figure 6 Frequency Graph comparing mean phosphate levels...47
Figure 7 Frequency Graph comparing mean nitrate levels...47
Figure 8 Frequency Graph comparing mean copper levels...48
Figure 9 Histogram of Dissolved Oxygen level at Tanyard Creek...48
Figure 10 Histogram of pH level at Tanyard Creek...49
Figure 11 Histogram of phosphate level at Tanyard Creek...49
Figure 12 Histogram of nitrate level at Tanyard Creek...50
Figure 13 Histogram of copper level at Tanyard Creek...50
Figure 14 Histogram of Dissolved Oxygen level at Peavine Creek...51
Figure 15 Histogram of pH level at Peavine Creek...51
Figure 16 Histogram of phosphate level at Peavine Creek...52
Figure 17 Histogram of nitrate level at Peavine Creek...52
Figure 18 Histogram of copper level at Peavine Creek...53
Figure 19 Histogram of Dissolved Oxygen level at Stone Mountain Creek...53
Figure 20 Histogram of pH level at Stone Mountain Creek...54
Figure 21 Histogram of phosphate level at Stone Mountain Creek...54

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