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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF LAND AND WATER RESOURCES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY IN THE NORTHEAST U.S.

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Seep and stream nitrogen dynamics in two adjacent mixed land use watersheds

Authors
item Williams, Mark -
item Schmidt, John

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 11, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: In many headwater catchments, stream flow originates from surface seeps and springs. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of seeps on nitrogen (N) dynamics within the stream and at the outlet of two adjacent mixed land use watersheds. Nitrogen concentrations in stream water were measured every 10 m along each stream. Samples were collected five times a year starting in April 2009 during base flow and following storm events. Surface water at the seep top (i.e., emergence point) and seep bottom were sampled biweekly. Preliminary results suggest that seeps significantly contribute to and regulate stream N dynamics in both watersheds. Seep bottom N concentrations appear to be highly correlated to stream water concentrations throughout the year. Seep N concentrations could explain 74% of the seasonal variability in watershed outlet stream N concentrations. Seeps generally were N sinks; however, individual seeps function differently in terms of N retention. Some seeps had N removal rates of greater than 80%, while others acted as a source of N with removal rates of -10%. The results of this research suggest that although seeps are a very small part of the watershed, they potentially exert major controls on stream flow chemistry and hydrology.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
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