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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 4, p. 1200-1205
     
    Received: Sept 1, 1999
    Published: July, 2000


    * Corresponding author(s): rschultz@iastate.edu
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doi:10.2134/jeq2000.00472425002900040025x

Multispecies Riparian Buffers Trap Sediment and Nutrients during Rainfall Simulations

  1. Kye-Han Lee,
  2. Thomas M. Isenhart,
  3. Richard C. Schultz * and
  4. Steven K. Mickelson
  1. Dep. of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, 102 Davidson Hall, Iowa State Univ., Ames, IA 50011-1021.

Abstract

Abstract

A study was conducted to evaluate the ability of a multispecies riparian buffer (MRB) to remove sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus from cropland runoff. Simulated rainfall was applied to 4.1- by 22.1-m bare cropland source areas paired with either no buffer, a 7.1-m-wide switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L. cv. Cave-n-Rock) buffer, or a 16.3-m-wide switchgrass-woody plant buffer. Each treatment plot combination had three replicates. The switchgrass buffer trapped 70% of the incoming sediment, while the switchgrass-woody buffer trapped more than 92%. In general, these buffers retained 93% of sand and silt particles and 52% of clay particles. During a 2-h rainfall simulation at 25 mm h−1, the switchgrass buffer removed 64, 61, 72, and 44% of the incoming total N, NO3−N, total P, and PO4-P, respectively. The switchgrass-woody buffer removed 80, 92, 93, and 85% of the incoming total N, NO3−N, total P, and PO4-P, respectively. During a 1-h rainfall simulation at 69 mm h−1, the switchgrass buffer removed 50, 41, 46, and 28% of the incoming total N, NO3−N, total P, and PO4-P, respectively. The switchgrass-woody plant buffer removed 73, 68, 81, and 35% of the incoming total N, NO3−N, total P, and PO4-P, respectively. The switchgrass buffer was effective in trapping coarse sediment and sediment-bound nutrients. But the additional buffer width with high infiltration capacity provided by the deep-rooted woody plant zone was effective in trapping the clay and soluble nutrients.

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