School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Statistical Changes of Lake Stages in Two Rapidly Urbanizing Watersheds

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Understanding changes induced by watershed urbanization is integral to developing an effective long-term management strategy. In this research, the authors study statistical changes of lake water surface levels in two urbanizing watersheds by evaluating serial change in time series parameters, autocorrelation, and variance as well as by developing a regression model to estimate weekly lake level fluctuations. The authors fit a seasonal integrated autoregressive moving average model to lake levels over subperiods of the data record to identify trends in parameter values. The authors fit the regression model with rainfall, lake stage, and temperature components for pre-urbanized and urbanized time periods to identify changes in baseflow. The lakes were located in Pasco County, Florida, USA and have not been significantly influenced by changes in rainfall patterns, pumping, surface water extraction or physical modification. Furthermore, the lakes exhibit consistent watershed urbanization and have sufficiently long and complete records. Based upon the research, the authors reach the following general conclusions about lakes in urbanizing watersheds: (1) the statistical structure of lake level time series is systematically altered, (2) in the absence of other forcing mechanisms, autocorrelation and baseflow decrease, (3) the presence of wetlands adjacent to lakes can offset the reduction in baseflow. These conclusions can be applied globally to similar regions that consist of lakes undergoing urbanization in flat, humid, shallow water table environments with wetlands. Furthermore, the methodology utilized can be applied at lakes in both similar and dissimilar environments to those studied in this research.


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Water Resour Manage