Effect of Land Cover Changes on the Sediment and Water Quality Characteristics of Brays Bayou Watershed Article

Bhandari, S, Maruthi Sridhar, BB, Wilson, BL. (2017). Effect of Land Cover Changes on the Sediment and Water Quality Characteristics of Brays Bayou Watershed . WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, 228(9), 10.1007/s11270-017-3538-7

cited authors

  • Bhandari, S; Maruthi Sridhar, BB; Wilson, BL


  • Rapid increase in impervious surfaces due to urbanization often intensifies the frequency of flooding which in turn increases runoff of environmental pollutants. The Brays Bayou watershed (BBW) is a heavily urbanized and densely populated watershed located mostly in Harris County, TX. The objectives of our study are (1) to analyze and interpret the spatial and temporal land use and land cover changes in BBW and (2) to determine nutrient, heavy metal, and bacterial contamination in the Brays Bayou. Water and sediment samples were collected from selected sampling locations along the Brays Bayou and analyzed for various nutrient and metal concentrations. Bacterial analysis was conducted to enumerate the fecal coliform bacteria in water samples. Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite images sampled from over three decades (1980–2010) for the BBW study area were processed and analyzed for land use and land cover changes. Our remote sensing analysis revealed that the BBW lost about 28.4% (9463 acres) vegetation during the period of 1984 to 2010. The loss in vegetative areas resulted in increased impervious surface areas. In sediment samples, increasing trends for Al, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Zn were observed towards the downstream of Brays Bayou. Lead concentrations were found at the highest concentration (70 mg/kg) in certain Brays Bayou sampling locations. Escherichia coli concentrations decreased towards the downstream of Brays Bayou and were found below 200 maximum probable numbers/100 ml. Integration of remote sensing along with the chemical and biological analysis helped to understand the impact of land cover changes on the bayou water quality.

publication date

  • September 1, 2017

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 228


  • 9