Dr. Christopher Meindl
Dr. James Ivey
Dr. John Osegovic
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
October 25, 2019
The goal of this study was to track water quality in Bayboro Harbor through the transition from dry season to rainy season and to determine if there was a sharp decline in water quality as precipitation increased. Secondary goals were to examine the influence of several points of urban runoff that discharged to the harbor, and analyze those sites along with several open water sites to detect any trends in changing water quality parameters or nutrients and to establish the baseline water quality data for a continuous monitoring program of Bayboro Harbor.
To accomplish these goals, a monitoring program was designed that could identify water quality issues and begin establishing baseline water quality. Five sample sites were selected to represent Bayboro Harbor: the discharge zones of Booker Creek and Salt Creek, a large stormwater drain, the center of the harbor from the marina breakwater, and another open water sample site at the end of the University of South Florida (USF) College of Marine Science peninsula. The selected parameters for the study were salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, precipitation, pH, turbidity, nitrate-nitrite, and orthophosphate.
Dissolved oxygen concentration indicated a downward trend that was continuing at the close of the study, there was a constant influx of nitrate-nitrite from Booker Creek, and the stormwater drain findings showed a wide variation of water quality parameters across the study, illustrating the influence of urban runoff. The peninsula discharge zone usually demonstrated the strongest ocean water characteristics, and the breakwater site had varied trends that were often in the middle of the other sites.
The results did not show a sharp decline in water quality at the beginning of the rainy season as hypothesized, but did show an overall trend of degradation for several parameters in response to pulses of runoff that followed precipitation events. The Booker Creek site was determined to be strongly influenced by freshwater (low pH), suggesting that the nitrate-nitrite concentration was due to urban runoff. The Salt Creek site experienced greater circulation and tidal influence from the mouth of the harbor than was expected. The central breakwater site appears to be the most representative of mixed Bayboro Harbor water of the five sample sites. The results suggest many possibilities for further study, including a deeper look at each of the outflow sites, different times or tidal states for sampling, upstream research on Booker Creek, and additional study of the stormdrain system.
Asher-Leonard, Stephanie, "Seasonal Water Quality Trends in Bayboro Harbor, a Humid Subtropical Urban Estuary in Tampa Bay, Florida" (2019). USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate). 182.