Measurement of Phosphorus Loads at Alewife Brook

In 2014, the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) supported a Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) pilot project, in partnership with Professor John Durant and graduate student Kate Munson, EG15, to perform an initial study on the measurement of phosphorus loads at Alewife Brook. TCRC provided necessary funding to assist in establishing the research site—mostly in support of the field time that Munson dedicated to the project, which became the basis for her Master's thesis in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The study's most important conclusion was that nutrient loading is sensitive to changes in precipitation, temperature, streamflow, and often event-based factors that should be considered simultaneously to fully understand the impacts of climate change on nutrient loading. The study also introduced a methodology that may improve general understanding of the complex interactions among precipitation, temperature, streamflow, and nutrient loading; the methodology may extend to a variety of applications, watersheds, and water quality parameters. The analysis also highlighted the need for increased sampling efforts to better assess the likely responses of water quality to future climate change.

TCRC's contributions to the project strengthened connections between the Mystic River Watershed Association and the Tufts School of Engineering, while putting the MyRWA in a stronger position to seek future funding.

Full Report Thesis


  • John Durant
  • Kate Munson, EG15
  • Mystic River Watershed Association