With the high demand for fresh water and its vital role in sustaining multiple ecosystem services, it is important to quantify and evaluate freshwater provisioning for various services (e.g., drinking, fisheries, recreation). Research on ecosystem services has increased recently, though relatively fewer studies apply a data driven approach to quantify freshwater provisioning for different ecosystem services. In this study, freshwater provisioning was quantified annually from 1995 to 2013 for 13 watersheds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB). Results showed that the annual freshwater provision indices for all watersheds were less than one indicating that freshwater provisioning is diminished in the UMRB. The concentrations of sediment and nutrients (total nitrogen, and total phosphorus) are the most sensitive factors that impact freshwater provisioning in the UMRB. A significant linear relationship was observed between precipitation and freshwater provisioning index. During wet periods freshwater provisioning generally decreased in the study watersheds, primarily because of relatively high concentrations and loads of sediment and nutrients delivered from nonpoint sources. Results from this study may provide an insight, as well as an example of a data-driven approach to enhance freshwater provisioning for different ecosystem services and to develop a sustainable and integrated watershed management approach for the UMRB.
Li, P., Chaubey, I., Muenich, R. L., & Wei, X. (2016). Evaluation of fresh water provisioning for different ecosystem services in the upper mississippi River Basin: Current status and drivers. Water (Switzerland), 8(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/W8070288