Ecosystems

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 1182–1196 | Cite as

Land-Use Change and Stream Water Fluxes: Decadal Dynamics in Watershed Nitrate Exports

  • Mark S. Johnson
  • Peter B. Woodbury
  • Alice N. Pell
  • Johannes Lehmann
Article

Abstract

Stream water exports of nutrients and pollutants to water bodies integrate internal and external watershed processes that vary in both space and time. In this paper, we explore nitrate (NO3) fluxes for the 326 km2 mixed-land use Fall Creek watershed in central New York for 1972–2005, and consider internal factors such as changes in land use/land cover, dynamics in agricultural production and fertilizer use, and external factors such as atmospheric deposition. Segmented regression analysis was applied independently to dormant and growing seasons for three portions of the period of record, which indicated that stream water NO3 concentrations increased in both dormant and growing seasons from the 1970s to the early 1990s at all volumes of streamflow discharge. Dormant season NO3 concentrations then decreased at all flow conditions between the periods 1987–1993 and 1994–2005. Results from a regression-based stream water loading model (LOADEST) normalized to mean annual concentrations showed annual modeled NO3 concentration in stream water increased by 34% during the 1970s and 1980s (from 1.15 to 1.54 mg l−1), peaked in about 1989, and then decreased by 29% through 2005 (to 1.09 mg l−1). Annual precipitation had the strongest correlation with stream water NO3 concentrations (r = −0.62, P = 0.01). Among land use factors, corn production for grain was the variable most highly correlated to stream water NO3 concentrations (r = 0.53, P = 0.01). The strongest associative trend determined using Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID) was found between stream water NO3 concentrations and N-equivalence of dairy production (Bonferroni adjusted P value = 0.0003). Large increases in dairy production were coincident with declining nitrate concentrations over the past decade, which suggest that dairy management practices may have improved in the watershed. However, because dairy production in the Fall Creek watershed has been fueled by large increases in feed imports, the environmental costs of feed production have likely been externalized to other watersheds.

Keywords

land-use/land-cover change agroecosystem management CHAID nitrogen cycle segmented regression analysis watershed loadings 

REFERENCES

  1. Aber JD, Goodale CL, Ollinger SV, Smith M-L, Magill AH, Martin ME, Hallett RA, Stoddard JL. 2003. Is nitrogen deposition altering the nitrogen status of Northeastern forests? Bioscience 53:375–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander RB, Smith RA. 1990. County-level estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer use in the United States, 1945 to 1985. USGS, Washington, DC, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-130Google Scholar
  3. Alexander RB, Johnes PJ, Boyer EW, Smith RA. 2002. A comparison of models for estimating the riverine export of nitrogen from large watersheds. Biogeochemistry 57/58:295–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Battaglin WA, Goolsby DA. 1994. Spatial data in geographic information system format on agricultural chemical use, land use, and cropping practices in the United States. USGS, Washington, DC, Water-Resources Investigations Report 94-4176Google Scholar
  5. Bernhardt ES, Likens GE, Hall RO, Buso DC, Fisher SG, Burton TM, Meyer JL, McDowell MH, Mayer MS, Bowden WB, Findlay SEG, Macneale KH, Stelzer RS, Lowe WH. 2005. Can’t see the forest for the stream? - In-stream processing and terrestrial nitrogen exports. Bioscience 55:219–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biggs D, DeVille B, Suen E. 1991. A method of choosing multiway partitions for classification and decision trees. J Appl Stat 18:49–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouldin DR, Johnson AH, Laurer DA. 1975. Transport in streams. In: Porter K, Ed. Nitrogen and phosphorus. Food production, waste and the environment. Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Science Publishers, pp 60–120Google Scholar
  8. Boyer EW, Goodale CL, Jaworski NA, Howarth RW. 2002. Anthropogenic nitrogen sources and relationships to riverine nitrogen export in the northeastern USA. Biogeochemistry 57/58:137–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bremner JM. 1965. Inorganic forms of nitrogen. In: Black CA, Ed. Methods of soil analysis. Part 2. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, pp Agronomy 9:1179–237Google Scholar
  10. Bremner JM, Keeney DR. 1965. Steam distillation methods for determination of ammonium, nitrate and nitrite. Anal Chim Acta 32:485–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bricker SB, Clement CG, Pirhalla DE, Orland SP, Farrow DGG. 1999. National estuarine eutrophication assessment: a summary of conditions, historical trends, and future outlook. Silver Springs: National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationGoogle Scholar
  12. Burkart MR, James DE. 1999. Agricultural-Nitrogen contributions to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. J Environ Qual 28:850–59Google Scholar
  13. Camp NJ, Slattery ML. 2002. Classification tree analysis: a statistical tool to investigate risk factor interactions with an example for colon cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control 13:813–23PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carpenter SR, Caraco NF, D.L. C, Howarth RW, Sharpley AN, Smity VH. 1998. Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen. Ecol Appl 8:559–68Google Scholar
  15. Cohn TA, Caulder DL, Gilroy EJ, Zynjuk LD, Summers RM. 1992. The validity of a simple statistical model for estimating fluvial constituent loads: an empirical study involving nutrient loads entering Chesapeake Bay. Water Resour Res 28:2353–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De’ath G, Fabricius KE. 2000. Classification and regression trees: a powerful yet simple technique for ecological data analysis. Ecology 81:3178–192Google Scholar
  17. Dervisoglu M. 2006. Influence of hazelnut flour and skin addition on the physical, chemical and sensory properties of vanilla ice cream. Int J Food Sci Technol 41:657–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diepena Mv, Franses PH. 2006. Evaluating chi-squared automatic interaction detection. Inf Syst 31:814–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dou Z, Kohn RA, Ferguson JD, Boston RC, Newbold JD. 1996. Managing nitrogen on dairy farms: an integrated approach. I. Model description. J Dairy Sci 79:2071–80Google Scholar
  20. Fick GW, Cox WJ. 1995. The agronomy of dairy farming in New York State. Ithaca: Cornell University. SCAS Teaching Series No. T95-1Google Scholar
  21. Flinn KM, Vellend M, Marks PL. 2005. Environmental causes and consequences of forest clearance and agricultural abandonment in central New York, USA. J Biogeogr 32:439–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fox DG, Tedeschi LO, Tylutki TP, Russell JB, Van Amburgh ME, Chase LE, Pell AN, Overton TR. 2004. The Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System model for evaluating herd nutrition and nutrient excretion. Anim Feed Sci Technol 112:29–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Furman WB. 1976. Continuous flow analysis: theory and practice. New York: Marcel DekkerGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodale CL. 2006. Export of atmospheric nitrogen deposition from forests at the top of the Susquehanna watershed. In: NYS WRI, Ed. Annual Technical Report, FY 2005. Ithaca, NY: New York State Water Resources InstituteGoogle Scholar
  25. Goodale CL, Aber JD, Vitousek PM. 2003. An unexpected nitrate decline in New Hampshire streams. Ecosystems 6:75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Heichel GH, Barnes DK, Vance CP, Henjum KI. 1984. N2 fixation, and N and dry matter partitioning during a 4-year alfalfa stand. Crop Sci 24:811–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Howarth RW, Sharpley A, Walker D. 2002. Sources of nutrient pollution to coastal waters in the United States: Implications for achieving coastal water quality goals. Estuaries 25:656–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Johnson AH, Bouldin DR, Goyette EA, Hedges AM. 1976. Nitrate dynamics in Fall Creek, New York. J Environ Qual 5:386–91Google Scholar
  29. Jordan TE, Weller DE. 1996. Human contributions to terrestrial nitrogen flux. BioScience 46:655–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kellman L, Hillaire-Marcel C. 1998. Nitrate cycling in streams: using natural abundances of NO3-delta15N to measure in-situ denitrification. Biogeochemistry 43:273–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Klausner SD, Fox DG, Rasmussen CN, Pitt RE, Tylutki TP, Wright PE, Chase LE, Stone WC. 1998. Improving dairy farm sustainability. I. An approach to animal and crop nutrient management planning. J Prod Agric 11:225–33Google Scholar
  32. Kohn RA, Dou Z, Ferguson JD, Boston RC. 1997. A sensitivity analysis of nitrogen losses from dairy farms. J Environ Manage 50:417–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lovett GM, Lindberg SE. 1993. Atmospheric deposition and canopy interactions of nitrogen in forests. Can J For Res 23:1603–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lynch JM, Barbano DM, Fleming JR. 2002. Determination of the total nitrogen content of hard, semihard, and processed cheese by the Kjeldahl method: collaborative study. J AOAC Int 85:445–55PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Martin CW, Driscoll CT, Fahey TJ. 2000. Changes in streamwater chemistry after 20 years from forested watersheds in New Hampshire, USA. Can J For Res 30:1206–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Murdoch PS, Shanley JB. 2006. Detection of water quality trends at high, median, and low flow in a Catskill Mountain stream, New York, through a new statistical method. Water Resources Research 42, W08407Google Scholar
  37. National Agricultural Statistical Service-New York Field Office. 2007. New York Statistics. USDAGoogle Scholar
  38. National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network. 2007. NADP Program Office, Illinois State Water Survey, 2204 Griffith Drive, Champaign, IL 61820; http://www.nadp.sws.uiuc.edu
  39. National Climatic Data Center. 2007. Climate Data Online. U.S. Department of CommerceGoogle Scholar
  40. New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. 2000. Funding for Agricultural Runoff Abatement in Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Albany, NYGoogle Scholar
  41. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 1999. The Oswego-Seneca-Oneida Rivers Basin Report 1995–1996. Albany: NY DEC Division of WaterGoogle Scholar
  42. New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee. 2005. Agricultural Environmental Management 2004–2005 Annual Report. Albany, NYGoogle Scholar
  43. NRC. 2003. Air emissions from animal feeding operations: current knowledge, future needs. National Research Council (U.S.). Ad Hoc Committee on Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations. Washington, DC: National Academies PressGoogle Scholar
  44. Park JH, Mitchell MJ, McHale PJ, Christopher SF, Meyers TP. 2003. Impacts of changing climate and atmospheric deposition on N and S drainage losses from a forested watershed of the Adirondack Mountains, New York State. Global Change Biol 9:1602–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Petzoldt T, Uhlmann D. 2006. Nitrogen emissions into freshwater ecosystems: is there a need for nitrate elimination in all wastewater treatment plants? Acta Hydrochimica et Hydrobiologica 34:305–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Porter KS. 1975. Nitrogen and phosphorus: food production, waste and the environment. Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor Science PublishersGoogle Scholar
  47. Ruddy BC, Lorenz DL, Mueller DK. 2006. County-level estimates of nutrient inputs to the land surface of the conterminous United States, 1982–2001. U.S. Geolgical Survey, Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5012Google Scholar
  48. Runkel RL, Crawford CG, Cohn TA. 2004. Load Estimator (LOADEST): A FORTRAN program for estimating constituent loads in streams and rivers. U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods Techniques and Methods Book 4. USGS, p 69Google Scholar
  49. Sandstedt CA. 1990. Nitrates: sources and their effects upon humans and livestock. Washington, DC: American UniversityGoogle Scholar
  50. Schlesinger WH, Reckhow KH, Bernhardt ES. 2006. Global change: The nitrogen cycle and rivers. Water Resources Research 42, W03S06. doi:10.1029/2005WR004300
  51. Smith BE, Marks PL, Gardescu S. 1993. Two Hundred Years of Forest cover changes in Tompkins County, New York. Bull Torrey Bot Club 120:229–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Snyder N, Whipple K. 2003. Importance of a stochastic distribution of floods and erosion thresholds in the bedrock river incision problem. Geophys Res Lett 102:2117. doi:2110.1029/2001JB001655 Google Scholar
  53. Stoddard JL, Kahl JS, Deviney FA, DeWalle DR, Driscoll CT, Herlihy AT, Kellogg JH, Murdoch PS, Webb JR, Webster KE. 2003. Response of surface water chemistry to the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA 620/R-03/001Google Scholar
  54. Swank WT, Vose JM. 1997. Long-term nitrogen dynamics of Coweeta forested watersheds in the southeastern United States of America. Global Biogeochem Cycles 11:657–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Trewavas A. 2004. Fertilizer: no-till farming could reduce run-off. Nature 427:99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tylutki TP, Fox DG, McMahon M. 2004. Implementation of nutrient management planning on a dairy farm. Prof Anim Sci 20:58–65Google Scholar
  57. U.S. Department of Commerce. 1995. 1992 Census of Agriculture. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington, DC, Geographic Area Series 1bGoogle Scholar
  58. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1983a. Nitrogen, nitrate–nitrite. Method 353.2 (colorimetric, automated, cadmium reduction). In: USEPA, Ed. Methods for chemical analysis of water and wastes, EPA-600/4-79/020. Cincinnati, Ohio: Environmental Monitoring and Support LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  59. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1983b. Nitrogen, nitrate–nitrite. Method 353.3 (spectrophotometric, manual, cadmium reduction). In: USEPA, Ed. Methods for chemical analysis of water and wastes, EPA-600/4-79/020. Cincinnati, Ohio: Environmental Monitoring and Support LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  60. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2000. National air pollutant emission trends, 1900–1998. US EPA Office of Air Quality, Washington, DC, EPA-454-R-00-002Google Scholar
  61. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2007. Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNet). Research Triangle Park, NC: US EPA Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. http://www.epa.gov/castnet/
  62. USDA Economic Research Service. 2007. ERS food consumption (per capita) data systemGoogle Scholar
  63. USGS. 2007. National Water Information System Data Retrieval. USGSGoogle Scholar
  64. van Breemen N, Boyer EW, Goodale CL, Jaworski NA, Paustian K, Seitzinger SP, Lajtha K, Mayer B, Vandam D, Howarth RW, Nadelhoffer KJ, Eve M, Billen G. 2002. Where did all the nitrogen go? Fate of nitrogen inputs to large watersheds in the northeastern USA. Biogeochemistry 57/58:267–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RW, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH, Tilman DG. 1997. Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: sources and consequences. Ecol Appl 7:737–50Google Scholar
  66. Vogelmann JE, Howard SM, Yang L, Larson CR, Wylie BK, Driel NV. 2001. Completion of the 1990s National Land Cover Data Set for the Conterminous United States from Landsat Thematic Mapper Data and Ancillary Data Sources. Photogrammetric Eng Remote Sens 67:650–2Google Scholar
  67. Waisanen PJ, Bliss NB. 2002. Changes in population and agricultural land in conterminous United States counties, 1790 to 1997. Global Biogeochem Cycles 16:1137. doi:1110.1029/2001GB001843 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Walter MT, Walter MF, Brooks ES, Steenhuis TS, Boll J, Weiler KR. 2000. Hydrologically sensitive areas: variable source area hydrology implications for water quality risk assessment. J Soil Water Conserv 3:277–84Google Scholar
  69. Wang SJ, Fox DG, Cherney DJR, Klausner SD, Bouldin DR. 1999. Impact of dairy farming on well water nitrate level and soil content of Phosphorus and Potassium. J Dairy Sci 82:2164–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wang SJ, Fox DG, Cherney DJR, Chase LE, Tedeschi LO. 2000. Whole-Herd optimization with the Cornell net carbohydrate and protein system. III. Application of an optimization model to evaluate alternatives to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus mass balance. J Dairy Sci 83:2160–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wolter C, Menzel R. 2005. Using commercial catch statistics to detect habitat bottlenecks in large lowland rivers. River Res Appl 21:245–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Wright J, Kennedy-Stephenson J, Wang C, McDowell M, Johnson C. 2004. Trends in intake of energy, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and saturated fat in the United States: 1971–2000. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 53:80–2Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Johnson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peter B. Woodbury
    • 1
  • Alice N. Pell
    • 2
  • Johannes Lehmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop and Soil SciencesCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeographyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations