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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #310266

Research Project: QUANTIFYING AND MONITORING NUTRIENT CYCLING, CARBON DYNAMICS AND SOIL PRODUCTIVITY AT FIELD, WATERSHED AND REGIONAL SCALES

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

Title: Developing unique tracers to distinguish nutrient contributions from agriculture and wastewater sources in the Choptank River and Anacostia River watersheds

Author
item Geis-asteggiate, L. - University Of Maryland
item Mcconnell, L.l. - University Of Maryland
item Hapeman, Cathleen
item Mccarty, Gregory
item Rice, Clifford
item Nguyen, Anh
item Downey, Peter
item Torrents, A. - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2014
Publication Date: 8/10/2014
Citation: Geis-Asteggiate, L., Mcconnell, L., Hapeman, C.J., Mccarty, G.W., Rice, C., Nguyen, A., Downey, P.M., Torrents, A. 2014. Developing unique tracers to distinguish nutrient contributions from agriculture and wastewater sources in the Choptank River and Anacostia River watersheds [abstract]. American Chemical Society. AGRO 480.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Eutrophication is a major problem for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The efficacy of the restoration efforts implemented is restricted by the inability to differentiate nutrient sources. This study assessed the use of stable tracers in order to discriminate between urban and agricultural nutrient sources. The Choptank River and Anacostia River watersheds were chosen as model systems as their land use is mainly agricultural and urban, respectively. MESA (a metabolite of metolachlor) was selected as an agricultural tracer and sucralose (an artificial sweetener) as an urban tracer. Surface water was collected, extracted, and analyzed for herbicides, their metabolites, and sucralose. The results demonstrated that sucralose was present in areas influenced by wastewater. Linear correlations between nitrate and MESA and ortho-phosphorous and sucralose were observed, indicating both agricultural and urban nutrient sources in the Choptank River. This work provides evidence that these tracers can be used for nutrient source discrimination in the Chesapeake Bay.