Hydrologic and water quality monitoring on Turkey Creek watershed, Francis Marion National Forest, SC.
The re-initiation of a 7,260 ha forested watershed study on Turkey Creek, a 3rd order stream, within the Francis Marion National forest in South Carolina, completes the development of a multi-scale hydrology and ecosystem monitoring framework in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Hydrology and water quality monitoring began on the Santee Experimental Forest in the 1960's, and represent an important long-term hydrological database for natural forested watersheds in the coastal plain. Understanding the functional linkages between terrestrial and marine environments is fundamental to sustainable management of coastal plain forests and to accommodate the rapidly expanding wildland urban interface. The Turkey Creek Watershed Monitoring is a multicollaborator effort, with a real time flow gauging station established in collaboration with the US Geological Survey to build upon the historical data (1964-1984), ground water wells that assess the surface-subsurface flow interactions by College of Charleston and Francis Marion National Forest, and weather station and stream water quality sampling stations by the Forest Service. The objective of the collaborative effort is to address the critical issues of sustainable water management for low-gradient forested wetland landscapes. Accordingly, a series of studies have been conducted in last few years to understand the hydrology, water quality, and ecosystem dynamics of this watershed. This paper attempts to summarize results of those studies that might help management decisions and monitoring assessments on coastal forest lands. They should also serve as reference eco hydrologic units for comparison with more intensively managed forests, and developed lands in the coastal plain. The data may serve as background data for assessing allowable pollutant loading for receiving waters from similar coastal forested watersheds.