Lakshmi Mahajan

Wildlife Tech Class of 2016
Ardsley High School
Mentor: Emily Stephan (SUNY ESF)

Project: Incorporating spatially explicit soil infiltration rates into i-Tree watershed models

Project Status: Completed

Project Description:

Nitrate pollution is an increasing problem in urban watersheds such as the Mianus River Gorge due to an increase in industry and urban sprawl. Denitrifying bacteria in the nitrogen cycle take up nitrates and convert them to atmospheric nitrogen, which is less toxic to water systems. The purpose of this study is to predict areas of likely nitrate removal via denitrification based on soil moisture, organic matter content, and tree canopy cover in the Mianus River in Bedford, NY, a 33km river that supplies drinking water for three municipalities in NY and CT.  Previous research on a more rural river found a correlation between soil moisture, organic matter, and denitrification potential.   However, the Mianus River Watershed is a more urban/suburban site, so this study will yield important results in a more developed watershed. I am currently recording soil moisture and organic matter content and denitrification potential at 19 sites along the Mianus River. Tree canopy cover will be predicted using iTree® Canopy and ArcGIS, and overall denitrification potential for the whole watershed will be modeled with i-Tree Hydro.

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Posted in WTP Techs.