Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Riparian ecosystems are thought to be important buffers for improving the quality of water exiting agricultural production systems. We evaluated the effectiveness of a headwater riparian buffer system for mitigating agricultural pollution of surface water. It was found that spatial heterogeneity within the riparian wetland system can affect its overall function for nutrient removal. For example, the prominence of preferentia flow pathways for groundwater movement and marked stratification of denitrification activity within the wetland soil profile can limit removal of nitrate from exfiltrating groundwater. Flow of surface water through secondary channels within the wetland can also limit retention of runoff sediment and agricultural phosphorus. These findings indicate that preferential movement of water through wetland ecosystems can limit the biogeochemical function of riparian buffers in removing agricultural pollutants.