Stream Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads Are Differentially Affected by Storm Events and the Difference May Be Exacerbated by Conservation Tillage

Patrick T. Kelly, William H. Renwick, Lesley B Knoll, Michael J. Vanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Storm events disproportionately mobilize dissolved phosphorus (P) compared to nitrogen (N), contributing to reduction in load N:P. In agricultural watersheds, conservation tillage may lead to even further declines in load N:P due to dissolved P accumulation in the top soil layers. Due to an increase in this management activity, we were interested in the impacts of conservation tillage on N and P loads during storm events. Using a 20 year data set of nutrient loads to a hypereutrophic reservoir, we observed disproportionately increasing P loads relative to base flow during storm events, whereas N loads were proportional to discharge. We also observed a change in that relationship, i.e., even greater P load relative to base flow with more conservation tillage in the watershed. This suggests conservation tillage may contribute to significantly reduced N:P loads during storms with potential implications for the water quality of receiving water bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5613-5621
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume53
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 21 2019

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conservation tillage
Phosphorus
Conservation
Nitrogen
phosphorus
nitrogen
baseflow
Watersheds
watershed
Nutrients
topsoil
Water quality
Soils
water quality
Water
nutrient

Cite this

Stream Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loads Are Differentially Affected by Storm Events and the Difference May Be Exacerbated by Conservation Tillage. / Kelly, Patrick T.; Renwick, William H.; Knoll, Lesley B; Vanni, Michael J.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 53, No. 10, 21.05.2019, p. 5613-5621.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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