19. Assessing Water Quality and Nutrient Levels as a Result of Equine Grazing on a Central Kentucky Stream

Nicole Schuler Midway University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Elizabeth Danks Midway University
Midway University has a working 200-acre horse farm with over 30 horses. It is situated along the Lee’s Branch stream system in central Kentucky in a landscape of pasture land and agricultural fields. Runoff from multiple fields enters the stream at multiple locations including a drainage ditch that flows during flooding events and a first order stream that also appears during flooding events. This study seeks to understand the effect that waste and erosion from the horse farm has on the water quality of the Lee’s Branch during and after flooding events. Water samples were collected from eight different locations along the stream. Those samples were then tested for dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, ammonia, and phosphate content. Observational qualities like flow, turbidity, and water level were also noted. The data collected were then compared using ANOVA, t-tests, and regression analysis to determine if the horse paddocks were influencing water quality. Microbial community-level physiological profiles were also compared at each site using Biolog Ecoplates in order to measure changes of the communities between sites directly or less directly affected by pasture runoff.
Sustainability, Urban Ecology & Environmental Studies
Poster Presentation