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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Landscape and Watershed Processes

Best Management Practices for Nutrient and Sediment Retention in Urban Stormwater Runoff


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 2, p. 386-395
    Received: Apr 10, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): dhogan@usgs.gov
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  1. Dianna M. Hogan *a and
  2. Mark R. Walbridgeb
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Science and Policy, 4400 University Drive, George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA 22030
    b Dep. of Biology, P.O. Box 6057, West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV 26506-6057. D.M. Hogan, current address, Eastern Geographic Science Center, USGS, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MSN 521, Reston, VA 20192. M.R. Walbridge, current address, Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems, USDA-ARS, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 4-2292, Beltsville, MD 20705-5140


Stormwater management infrastructure is utilized in urban areas to alleviate flooding caused by decreased landscape permeability from increased impervious surface cover (ISC) construction. In this study, we examined two types of stormwater detention basins, SDB-BMPs (stormwater detention basin-best management practice), and SDB-FCs (stormwater detention basin–flood control). Both are constructed to retain peak stormwater flows for flood mitigation. However, the SDB-BMPs are also designed using basin topography and wetland vegetation to provide water quality improvement (nutrient and sediment removal and retention). The objective of this study was to compare SDB (both SDB-BMP and SDB-FC) surface soil P concentrations, P saturation, and Fe chemistry with natural riparian wetlands (RWs), using sites in Fairfax County, Virginia as a model system. The SDB-BMPs had significantly greater surface soil total P (Pt) concentrations than the RWs and SDB-FCs (831.9 ± 32.5 kg ha−1, 643.3 ± 19.1 kg ha−1, and 652.1 ± 18.8 kg ha−1, respectively). The soil P sorption capacities of SDB-BMPs were similar to the RWs, and were greater than those of SDB-FCs, appearing to result in greater soil P removal and retention in SDB-BMPs compared with SDB-FCs. Increased Fe concentrations and relatively greater amounts of more crystalline forms of Fe in SDB-BMP soils suggested increased sediment deposition compared with RW and SDB-FC soils. Data suggest that SDB nutrient and sediment retention is facilitated in SDB-BMPs. When stormwater management is necessary, use of SDB-BMPs instead of SDB-FCs could foster more responsible urban development and be an appropriate mitigation action for receiving aquatic ecosystems.

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