Drainage and nutrient attenuation in a riparian interception-wetland: Southern Minnesota, USA

Joe Magner, Scott Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Riparian wetlands have multiple source waters that require understanding to effectively manage water quantity and quality. Source waters were determined in an interception-wetland located a relatively flat clayey till terrain in southern Minnesota. Data loggers were used to measure precipitation, water stage from monitoring wells and a tile-drain outlet. Over 70 oxygen (δ18O), hydrogen (δD) and geochemical water samples were collected from seven locations over different seasons (9 events) from 1996 to 1999. Results indicate the dominant source water input to the wetland was drained shallow groundwater beneath intensively managed cropland (P = 0.000). Evapotranspiration was the dominant export pathway. Nitrate-nitrogen (NO 3-N) concentrations significantly decreased (P = 0.000) in the cattail-willow portion of the wetland. Total phosphorous (TP) concentrations were relatively high in the grass portion of the wetland (673 ± 549 μg L-1), and relatively low in the cattail-willow portion of the wetland (139 ± 85 μg L-1) because source waters were low in TP. Overall, the interception-wetland design limited out-of-bank flooding, yet allowed sufficient gradient between the cropland and the wetland outlet to minimize potential crop damage and provide hydraulic storage for nutrient attenuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1367-1376
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Geology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Agricultural drainage
  • Interception-wetland
  • Nutrient attenuation
  • Stable isotopes


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