Effects of Watershed Land use on Nitrogen Concentrations and δ 15 Nitrogen in Groundwater Article Received: 15 April 2004 Accepted: 18 July 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: Cole, M.L., Kroeger, K.D., Mcclelland, J.W. et al. Biogeochemistry (2006) 77: 199. doi:10.1007/s10533-005-1036-2 Abstract
Eutrophication is a major agent of change affecting freshwater, estuarine, and marine systems. It is largely driven by transportation of nitrogen from natural and anthropogenic sources. Research is needed to quantify this nitrogen delivery and to link the delivery to specific land-derived sources. In this study we measured nitrogen concentrations and
δ 15N values in seepage water entering three freshwater ponds and six estuaries on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and assessed how they varied with different types of land use. Nitrate concentrations and δ 15N values in groundwater reflected land use in developed and pristine watersheds. In particular, watersheds with larger populations delivered larger nitrate loads with higher δ 15N values to receiving waters. The enriched δ 15N values confirmed nitrogen loading model results identifying wastewater contributions from septic tanks as the major N source. Furthermore, it was apparent that N coastal sources had a relatively larger impact on the N loads and isotopic signatures than did inland N sources further upstream in the watersheds. This finding suggests that management priorities could focus on coastal sources as a first course of action. This would require management constraints on a much smaller population. Keywords Cape Cod Groundwater Land use Nitrogen Stable isotopes References Aravena, R., Evans, M.L., Cherry, J.A. 1993 Stable isotopes of oxygen and nitrogen in source identification of nitrate from septic systems Ground Water 31 180 186 CrossRef Google Scholar Ataie-Ashtiani, B., Volker, R.E., Lockington, D.A. 2001 Tidal effects on groundwater dynamics in unconfined aquifers Hydrol. Process. 15 655 669 CrossRef Google Scholar Baden, S.P., Loo, L.-O., Pihl, L., Rosenberg, R. 1990 Effects of eutrophication on benthic communities including fish: Swedish west coast Ambio 19 113 122 Google Scholar Barlow, P.M., Hess, K.M. 1993Simulated hydrologic responses of the Quashnet River streamaquifer system to proposed ground-water withdrawals, Cape Cod, Massachusetts US Geological Survey Denver, CO Google Scholar Bottcher, J., Strebel, O., Voerkelius, S., Schmidt, H.-L. 1990 Using isotope fractionation of nitrate-nitrogen and nitrate-oxygen for evaluation of microbial denitrification in a sandy aquifer J. Hydrol. 114 413 424 CrossRef Google Scholar Bowen, J.L., Valiela, I. 2001 The ecological effects of urbanization of coastal watersheds: historical increases in nitrogen loads and eutrophication of Waquoit Bay estuaries Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 58 1489 1500 CrossRef Google Scholar Capone, D.G., Slater, J.M. 1990 Interannual patterns of water table height and groundwater derived nitrate in nearshore sediments Biogeochemistry 10 277 288 Google Scholar Cole, J.J., Peierls, B.L., Caraco, N.F., Pace, M.L. 1993 Nitrogen loading of rivers as a humandriven process McDonnell, M.J. Pickett, S.T.A. eds. Humans as Components of Ecosystems: The Ecology of Subtle Human Effects and Populated Areas Springer-Verlag New York 138 154 Google Scholar Corbett, D.R., Dillon, K., Burnett, W., Schaefer, G. 2002 The spatial variability of nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in a sand aquifer influenced by onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems: a case study on St. George Island, Florida Environ. Pollut. 117 337 345 Google Scholar Eichner, E.M., Cambareri, T.C. 1992Nitrogen loading. Cape Cod Commission Technical Bulletin 91-001 Cape Cod Commission Barnstable, MA Google Scholar Gobler, C.J., Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S.A. 2001 Temporal variability of groundwater seepage and brown tide blooms in a Long Island embayment Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 217 299 309 Google Scholar Hagerthey, S.E., Kerfoot, W.C. 1998 Groundwater flow influences the biomass and nutrient ratios of epibenthic algae in a north temperate seepage lake Limnol. Oceanogr. 43 1227 1242 Google Scholar Hauxwell, J., Cebrian, J., Furlong, C., Valiela, I. 2001 Macroalgal canopies contribute to eelgrass ( Zostera marina) decline in temperate estuarine ecosystems Ecology 82 1007 1022 Google Scholar Howes, B.L., Teal, J.M. 1995 Nutrient balance of a Massachusetts cranberry bog and relationships to coastal eutrophication Environ. Sci. Technol. 29 960 974 Google Scholar Jones, M.N. 1984 Nitrate reduction by shaking with cadmium: alternative to cadmium columns Wat. Res. 18 643 646 Google Scholar Kemp, M.J., Dodds, W.K. 2001 Spatial and temporal patterns of nitrogen concentrations in pristine and agriculturally-influenced prairie streams Biogeochemistry 53 125 141 CrossRef Google Scholar
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