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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Stream Nutrient Limitation and Sediment-Interactions in the Eucha-Spavinaw Basin

Authors
item Popova, Yulia - OSU BAEG
item Keyworth, Valeria - OSU BAEG
item Haggard, Brian
item Storm, Daniel - OSU BAEG

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2006
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Popova, Y.A., Keyworth, V.G., Haggard, B.E., Storm, D.E. 2006. Stream nutrient limitation and sediment-interactions in the Eucha-Spavinaw Basin. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Society. 61(2):105-115.

Interpretive Summary: Water-quality concerns at lakes and reservoirs often force watershed managers to focus on nutrient sources within the catchment, particularly nutrients applied to the landscape and direct input of nutrients from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). When nutrients from these sources enter stream systems, nutrient molecules begin a spiraling process, moving downstream and interacting in various in-stream processes that temporarily retain and transform nutrients. The objectives of this study were to evaluate: 1) the limiting nutrient of periphytic algae using a passive diffusion periphytometer; 2) the sediment content of easily exchangeable nutrients; and 3) sediment and water column dissolved phosphorus equilibrium in streams draining the Eucha'Spavinaw Basin in the Ozark Plateaus, USA. Stream nutrient concentrations were generally not limiting algal growth at most locations and during most seasons. Stream nutrient concentrations and sediment nutrient content were influenced by both catchment land use and municipal WWTP effluent discharge; the effect of the WWTP discharge was more profound than catchment land use. Overall, it appears that the effects of WWTPs on stream water chemistry and sediment nutrient content were much greater than that from potential nonpoint sources and catchment land use in the Ozarks.

Technical Abstract: Water-quality concerns at lakes and reservoirs often force watershed managers to focus on nutrient sources within the catchment, particularly nutrients applied to the landscape and direct input of nutrients from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). When nutrients from these sources enter stream systems, nutrient molecules begin a spiraling process, moving downstream and interacting in various in-stream processes that temporarily retain and transform nutrients. The objectives of this study were to evaluate: 1) the limiting nutrient of periphytic algae using a passive diffusion periphytometer; 2) the sediment content of easily exchangeable nutrients; and 3) sediment and water column dissolved phosphorus equilibrium in streams draining the Eucha'Spavinaw Basin in the Ozark Plateaus, USA. Stream nutrient concentrations were generally not limiting algal growth because nutrient enrichment did not elicit a significant increase in periphytic chlorophyll a concentrations at most locations and in most seasons; however, Beaty Creek and Cherokee Creek did show evidence of P limitation of algal growth during summer. Nutrient concentrations in the select Ozark streams increased with an increase in pasture land use in the catchment. Sediment nutrient content and equilibrium P concentrations generally also increased with the proportion of pasture, but these parameters were more strongly influenced by WWTP effluent discharge than catchment land use. In the Ozarks, it appears that the effects of WWTPs on stream water chemistry and sediment nutrient content were much greater than that from potential nonpoint sources and catchment land use.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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