Watershed

Oral

394031 - Monitoring nutrient dynamics in a forested floodplain wetland draining a mixed-use Appalachian watershed

Tuesday, June 5
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Greenway IJ

Harmful algal blooms on the Ohio River have generated renewed interest in nutrient fluxes from Appalachian watersheds. While headwaters of these watersheds often drain steep-gradient hillslopes, discharge to the Ohio River occurs in lowland valleys, producing seasonally inundated stream-wetlands. However, these watersheds currently lack water quality monitoring infrastructure. Tributary perirheic mixing with the main-stem, stream hyporheic mixing with a seasonably varied groundwater table, and variable upland concentrations from dynamic source contributions, creates a highly variable nutrient signal, difficult to characterize using traditional monitoring techniques. Our goal is nutrient dynamic quantification within these wetland landscapes using novel sensing platforms. The site under study is the Fourpole Creek watershed (60km2) draining predominantly forested, urban, and agricultural landscape through a palustrine forested wetland (0.14km2) in eastern West Virginia. Data will be presented from the stream-wetland system monitored at upstream and downstream boundaries for turbidity, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, fDOM, temperature, flow, and nutrients at 15-minute to bihourly intervals. Sediment trap samples were collected weekly at both sensing locations for a year, and analyzed for elemental and isotopic compositions. We will present results of both particulate and dissolved nutrient flux phases to assess total nutrient budget dynamics at event to seasonal timescales. Preliminary sensor data results collected at the watershed outlet highlights a noisy timeseries for all parameters that reflect fluctuating contributions from the Ohio River and Fourpole Creek. During stormflows, Fourpole creek signatures are found to be dominant, highlighting broad fluctuations in dissolved nutrient and sediment flux parameters. Elemental measurements from sediment traps display seasonal fluctuations in sediment entering the wetland that is not found at the watershed outlet, suggesting attenuation and transformation of sediment nitrogen within the wetland. Ultimately, we aim to use this data to inform hydrologic and water quality wetland models that quantify fluxes and apply them for management/scenario analysis.

Alexandria Jensen

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Kentucky

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William Ford

Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky

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394031 - Monitoring nutrient dynamics in a forested floodplain wetland draining a mixed-use Appalachian watershed



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