Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Cary D. Troy

Committee Member 1

Tomas O. Hook

Committee Member 2

P.S. C. Rao

Committee Member 3

Keith A. Cherkauer


In response to the increasing frequency of water quality impairment near tributary outlets, understanding the delivery of nutrients to the nearshore region of the Great Lakes is becoming increasingly important. This study assessed the transport of nutrients from tributaries to the nearshore region of lakes by evaluating the dynamics of tributaries and river plumes. Analysis focused on answering the following questions: (1) How do hydrologic characteristics of Lake Michigan tributaries vary historically and in comparison to each other; (2) How do nutrient concentrations vary episodically and chemostatically within Lake Michigan tributaries, and how does this impact nutrient loading; (3) How do Lake Michigan river plumes’ spatial characteristics and classification vary temporally, and what are the ecological implications?