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Albemarle-Pamlico NAWQA

SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed Attributes (SPARROW)

Albemarle-Pamlico Study (ALBE), National Water-Quality Study (NAWQA)

A SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed Attributes) total nitrogen model was calibrated (2000-2002) by using data from the Tar, Neuse, and Cape Fear basins in eastern North Carolina. The SPARROW modeling approach has three main features:

  1. A geographic information system is used to manage data about nitrogen sources, instream nitrogen flux measured at monitoring sites, characteristics of the terrestrial landscape, and the location and connectivity of a waterhsed's stream reach.

  2. The statistical basis of SPARROW provides an objective means of specifiying a relation between nitrogen flux and the sources and losses of nitrogen within the watershed. The model specifies that instream nitrogen flux is a function of a nonlinear relation between nitrogen sources, such as point sources, atmospheric deposition, and agricultural and developed land use, land-delivery processes, and instream nitrogen processing.

  3. The SPARROW model makes explicit use of information that can be derived from the stream reach network about the spatial relation among nitrogen fluxes, sources, landscape characteristics, and stream characteristics.


McMahon, Gerard, 1995, The role of information in developing rational watershed management plans [abs.]: Geological Society of America, 1995 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, La.

McMahon, Gerard, Alexander, R.B., and Qian, Song, 2003, Support of TMDL programs using spatially referenced regression models, American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, v. 129, no. 4, p. 315-329.

McMahon, Gerard, Qian, Song, and Roessler, Chris, 2002, A regression-based approach to assessing stream nitrogen impairment probabilities [abs.], in Spring Meeting Supplement, 2002 AGU Spring Meeting, Washington, DC, May 28-31, 2002: American Geophysical Union, v. 83, no. 19, Abstract H52B-04.

McMahon, Gerard, and Roessler, Chris, 2002, A regression-based approach to understand baseline total nitrogen loading for TMDL planning: National TMDL Science and Policy 2002 Speciality Conf., Water Environment Federation, 27 p.

McMahon, Gerard, and Woodside, M.D., 1997, Estimating a nutrient mass balance for major drainage areas of the Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin, North Carolina and Virginia: Albemarle-Pamlico Estuarine Study Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Implementation Forum, June 5-6.

McMahon, Gerard, and Woodside, M.D., 1997, Nutrient mass balance for the Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin, North Carolina and Virginia, 1990: Journal of the American Water Resources Association. v. 33, no. 3, June 1997, p. 573-589.

McMahon, Gerard, and Woodside, M.D., 1994, Nitrogen mass balance for major drainage areas of the Albemarle-Pamlico Drainage Basin, North Carolina and Virginia [abs.]: American Geophysical Union 1994 Fall Meeting, December 5-9, 1994, San Francisco, California, p. 229.

National USGS SPARROW page

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