Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 164, Issue 1–4, pp 189–204 | Cite as

The Distribution of Phosphorus in Popes Creek, VA, and in the Pocomoke River, MD: Two Watersheds with Different Land Management Practices in the Chesapeake Bay Basin

  • N. S. SimonEmail author
  • Owen P. Bricker
  • Wayne Newell
  • John McCoy
  • Rijk Morawe


This paper compares phosphorus (P) concentrations in sediments from two watersheds, one with, and one without, intensive animal agriculture. The watersheds are in the coastal plain of the Chesapeake Bay and have similar physiographic characteristics. Agriculture in the Pocomoke River, MD, watershed supplied 2.7 percent of all broiler chickens produced in the USA in 1997. Poultry litter is an abundant, local source of manure for crops. Broiler chickens are not produced in the Popes Creek, VA, watershed and poultry manure is, therefore, not a major source of fertilizer. The largest concentrations of P in sediment samples are found in floodplain and main-stem bottom sediment in both watersheds. Concentrations of total P and P extracted with 1N HCl are significantly larger in main-stem bottom sediments from the Pocomoke River than in main-stem bottom sediments from Popes Creek. Larger concentrations of P are associated with what are potentially redox sensitive iron oxyhydroxides in sediment samples from the Pocomoke River watershed than are associated with what are potentially redox sensitive iron oxyhydroxides in sediment samples from the Popes Creek watershed. Data for P and iron (Fe) concentrations in sediments from the Popes Creek watershed provide a numerical framework (baseline) with which to compare P and Fe concentrations in sediment from the Pocomoke River watershed.


estuary iron land-use phosphorus sediment watershed 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. S. Simon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Owen P. Bricker
    • 1
  • Wayne Newell
    • 1
  • John McCoy
    • 2
  • Rijk Morawe
    • 3
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyReston
  2. 2.DNR, Chesapeake Coastal Watershed ServiceAnnapolis
  3. 3.National Park Service

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