Student Research Paper
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Clearcutting forests has the potential to impact the water quality of high water headwater streams. In this study, we measured the effect of forest clearcut events on parameters of stream water quality within Michaux State Forest. The watershed of two streams included 2.1% and 11.6% of the total catchment in clearcuts, while the other 4 watersheds had no clearcuts. We measured pH, electrical conductivity, total suspended solids, and nitrate (ppm) and phosphate (ppm) concentrations from six different tributary streams. Mann-Whitney U tests maintain no statistical difference observed between pH (U= 4.00, p= 1.00), temperature (U=1.00, p=0.165), electrical conductivity (U=2.00, p=0.355), suspended solids (U=2.00, p=0.325), nitrate concentration (U=2.00, p=0.264), or phosphate concentration (U=2.00, p=0.340). However, post-hoc analysis confirms stream 6 as an upper outlier for electrical conductivity (EC= 86.8 uS). This may be due to this site’s proximity to a busy road. These results suggest that there is no significant impact of clearcutting on stream water quality in Michaux State Forest. However, further repetition of this experiment would be necessary to make this conclusion statistically robust.
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Kaewwilai, Alyssa J.; Peterson, Hannah R.; and Rec, Abigail F., "Clearcutting in Appalachia: Impacts on Stream Water Quality in an Appalachian Watershed" (2019). Student Publications. 769.