University of Vermont

Bowden Watershed Research Lab

Transportation project

Impacts of Transportation Infrastructure on Stormwater and Surface Waters

Joseph Bartlett, current MS graduate student thesis research

Joe Bartlett measuring a stream

Transportation infrastructure is a major source of stormwater runoff that can alter hydrology and contribute significant loading of nutrients, sediment, and other pollutants to surface waters. These increased loads frequently lead to impaired receiving waters, as is the case for streams throughout the Lake Champlain basin, as well as the Lake itself.

In this study, we selected six watersheds that represent the range of road types (gravel and paved) and road densities (rural, suburban, and urban) present in Chittenden County, Vermont. Road networks were characterized and quantified for each watershed using GIS (geographic information systems) analysis. Monitoring stations in each watershed were constructed and instrumented to measure discharge and water quality parameters continuously from spring through early winter. Storm event composite samples and monthly water chemistry grab samples were collected and analyzed for total nutrients, chloride, and total suspended sediments. Preliminary results from two field seasons of monitoring suggest that road type and road density may be closely linked with the level of impairment in each watershed.

Last modified January 05 2010 08:50 AM

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