Impact of urbanization and agriculture on the occurrence of bacterial pathogens and stx genes in coastal waterbodies of central California
Fecal indicator bactieria (FIB) and Salmonella concentrations, as well as the occurrence of E. coli harboring stx genes, were positively associated with the fraction of the surrounding subwatershed that was urban, while the occurrence of E. coli O157:H7 was positively associated with the agricultural fraction. FIB and Salmonella concentrations were negatively correlated to salinity and temperature, and positively correlated to rainfall. Areal loading rates of FIB, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 to the coastal ocean were calculated for stream and river sites and varied with land cover, salinity, temperature, and rainfall. Results suggest that FIB and pathogen concentrations are influenced, in part, by their flux from the land, which is exacerbated during rainfall; once waterborne, bacterial persistence is affected by water temperature and salinity.
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