Bull Creek at Loop 360 in Austin, Texas.
Bull Creek at Loop 360 in Austin, Texas. Photo credit: Roy Niswanger
Project summary:

This project is developing two novel research approaches for understanding urbanization impacts on watersheds. In this year of the project, the team will apply a novel integration of isotope and DNA source tracking to uniquely identify and model contaminant inputs. A second innovation is a new use of tree-ring analysis to develop exactly dated, multidecadal histories of infrastructure degradation via isotope and human waste tracers. This information will be combined with indices of biodiversity and vegetation water use to provide a uniquely comprehensive and long-term perspective to better forecast how urban watershed systems will develop in 21st-century Texas. This unique approach to understanding multi-decadal impacts of urbanization on water resources and ecosystem services will directly contribute to planning for resilience as Texas’ major urban centers expand.

Project team:

Jay Banner (project lead – JSG), Ashley Matheny (JSG), Mary Jo Kirisits (CAEE), Kasey Faust (CAEE), Lynn Katz (CAEE), Ngoc Tran (Math), Shalene Jha (Integrative Biology), Bryan Black (Univ of Arizona), Christopher Herrington (City of Austin), Amy Belaire (The Nature Conservancy), Kate Catterall (Design and Creative Technology), Alyson Beaton (Design and Creative Technology), Darrel Tremaine (ESI), and Lakin Beal (Jackson School of Geosciences)

Published research:

Stream and Spring Water Evolution in a Rapidly Urbanizing Watershed — Water Resources Research


Tracing Water By: Mary Huber — Medium

UT Study Shows Austin Area Water and Wastewater Pipes Feeding into Bull Creek — KXAN-TV

Bull Creek Fed in Part by Austin-area Wastewater Pipes, UT Report Finds — CBS News