Long-term impacts of land-use change on non-point source pollutant loads for the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, USA

Yun Wang, Woonsup Choi, Brian M. Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A land-use-change simulation model (LEAM) and a non-point-source (NPS) water quality model (L-THIA) were closely coupled as LEAMwq in order to determine the long-term implications of various degree of urbanization on NPS total nitrogen (TN), total suspended particles (TSP), and total phosphorus (TP) loads. A future land-use projection in the St. Louis metropolitan area from 2005 to 2030 using three economic growth scenarios (base, low, and high) and a long-term precipitation dataset were used to predict the mean annual surface runoff and mean annual NPS pollutant loads in the region. Results show mean annual TN increases of 0.21%, 0.13%, and 0.14% by 2030 compared to 2000 under the base, high, and low scenarios, respectively. TSP and TP showed similar trends with different magnitudes. Corresponding changes in annual mean surface runoff were shown to be lower than expected, which might be attributed to the small-scale conversion pattern of land uses. In the most dramatic change (high growth) scenario, the runoff would increase across time but at varying rates, and temporal pollutant loads would result in a more complicated pattern than in the other scenarios. This is attributed to the complex interactions between event mean concentrations of pollutants and the magnitude of changes in land-use acreages. By integrating L-THIA with LEAM, LEAMwq was found to be a useful planning tool to illustrate in a quick and simple manner how future water quality is connected to decision-making on future land-use change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2005


  • L-THIA
  • LEAM
  • Runoff, Non-point-source pollution
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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