A multidisciplinary team examines water quality issues (stream temperature and salinity) in mountain urbanized, residential, and 'natural' control streams – looking at influences of development on high-gradient stream temperature dynamics. The faculty team implemented the Program for Interdisciplinary Research on Mountain Streams (PIRMS) in order to understand the lack of data on high-gradient stream dynamics. PIRMS includes expertise from hydrology, chemistry and physics. Boone Creek, an urban stream in northwestern North Carolina, has been a test site for this assessment effort since 2006. This monitoring effort collects data on water stage, temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity at a frequency of 96 d-1 using permanently installed sensors. The data show that temperature and salt are significant issues facing Boone Creek.
A second area of research involves monitoring fractured bedrock aquifers that serve water supply needs for much of the western NC high country. These aquifers are relatively unstudied, especially in the Blue Ridge, but they are critical resources to much of the population outside of municipalities. Growing populations may affect water availability (and quality) from those aquifers.
A related research initiative of this group of faculty is to understand impending water shortages due to increasing water demands of growing populations and developing societies. The group examine both factors controlling water supply and water demand since water shortages may be caused by either an increase in demand or water shortages. Research examines both natural and human controls on water supply and demand at global and regional scales.
- Anderson, Jr., W.P. and D. G. Evans. 2007. On the interpretation of recharge estimates from steady-state model calibrations. Ground Water.
- Anderson, Jr., W.P., C.M. Babyak, and C.S. Thaxton. (2006). Baseline monitoring case study of a high-gradient urbanized stream: Boone Creek, Boone, NC. ASCE Proceedings of the 2nd National Low Impact Development Conference.
- Boone Creek Restoration project is supported by funds from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Appalachian State University.