Nutrient Trapping by Sediment Deposition in a Seasonally Flooded Lakeside Wetland1
- C. A. Johnston,
- G. D. Bubenzer,
- G. B. Lee,
- F. W. Madison and
- J. R. Mc Henry2
Sediment and nutrient retention was studied in a seasonally flooded lakeside wetland as a natural mechanism for preventing water quality deterioration. Both wetland and upland soils in the watershed had comparable concentrations of inorganic P on a per-volume basis, while NH4+-N and organic forms of N and P were much higher in the wetland soils. Nitrate concentrations expressed in a per-volume basis were lower in the wetland soils than in the upland soils.
The distribution of sediment and nutrients in the wetland was correlated with distance from a small stream flowing through the wetland. Deposition patterns were affected by recent stream channel migrations.
The accumulation of nutrients and sediment delivered from the upland to wetland soils was estimated in two ways: (i) by calculating the volume of alluvium deposited in low natural levees adjacent to the stream; and (ii) by estimating nutrient and ash enrichment of histic surface soils farther away from the stream. Although the levees constituted only about 20% of the wetland surface area, they accounted for 81% of the sediment, 84% of the N, and 67% of the P retained by the wetland.
The depth of Cs-137 in the soil was used to estimate net sedimentation rates. Average annual accumulations over the wetland as a whole were: 2.0 kg sediment m−2 yr−1, 2.6 g P m−2 yr−1, and 12.8 N g m−2 yr−1. Since these values exceed those published for average annual storage by wetland plants, soil mechanisms are more important than vegetative uptake for long-term nutrient and sediment retention in the White Clay Lake wetland.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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