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Kathryn Sullivan - Ecological Modeling Lab

University of Minnesota, Morris

Our research focused on evaluating the connections that might exist between runoff and erosion models and observed levels of phosphorus and sediment. We chose to evaluate two methods of predicting runoff and erosion that are currently in widespread use as basic factors of empirical nutrient models. We found that the models worked somewhat well on their own but when they were combined and reconfigured, they worked even better. This shows that the basic assumptions of many popular nutrient models might be faulty in application unless reexamined and modified for the individual region. Our results show that changes in land use that soil erodability and runoff do affect amounts of phosphorus and sediment in nearby surface waters and that specific factors that should be considered when trying to limit P and sediment are land slope, land cover, basin ruggedness, and soil permeability.