Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 373–384 | Cite as

Spatial and isotopic analysis of watershed soil loss and reservoir sediment accumulation rates in Lake Anna, Virginia, USA

Original Article

Abstract

Soil erosion and associated sedimentation are a threat to the sustainable use of surface water resources through the loss of volume storage capacity and conveyance of pollutants to receiving water bodies. The RUSLE2 empirical model and isotopic sediment core analyses were used to evaluate watershed erosion and reservoir sediment accumulation rates for Lake Anna, in Central Virginia. A sediment flux rate of 66,000 Mg/year was estimated from the upper basin and land use was determined to be the primary factor contributing to soil erosion. Barren lands and agricultural activities were estimated to contribute the most sediment (>20 Mg/ha/year), whereas forested and herbaceous landscapes were less likely to erode (<0.3 Mg/ha/year). Eleven separate 210Pb-based estimates of sediment accumulation were used to construct reservoir-scale sedimentation rates. Sedimentation rates in the upper reaches of the reservoir were variable, ranging from 2.3 to 100 Mg/ha/year, with a median rate of 8.4 Mg/ha/year. Historical sedimentation showed an increase in annual accumulation from 1972 to present. Based on these data the reservoir has experienced a 2% loss of volume storage capacity since impoundment in 1972. Results from this study indicate that Lake Anna is not currently experiencing excessive sedimentation and erosion problems. However, the predominance of highly erosive soils (soil erodibility factor >0.30) within the watershed makes this system highly vulnerable to future anthropogenic stressors.

Keywords

Soil erosion Reservoir sedimentation Land use 210Pb RUSLE2 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the University of Mary Washington for their financial support during the course of this project. They are also thankful to Lake Anna Civic Association (LACA) for funding portions of their isotopic analyses through a grant to Dr. Grant Woodwell. The authors also wish to thank Stephanie Andreucci, Dr. Neil Tibert, Dr. Werner Weiland, Lee Sillitoe, and Leigh Goldstein for their assistance in field sampling and laboratory analysis.

References

  1. Appleby PG, Oldfield F (1978) The calculation of lead-210 dates assuming a constant rate of supply of unsupported Pb-210 to the sediment. Catena 5:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellucci LG, Frignani M, Lin S, Muntau H (2005) Accumulation and metal fluxes in the central Venice Lagoon during the last century. Chem Ecol 21:425–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benoit G, Rozan TF, Patton PC, Arnold CL (1999) Trace metals and radionuclides reveal sediment sources and accumulation rates in Jordan Cove, Connecticut. Estuaries 22:65–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berquist CR Jr, (2003) Digital representation of the 1993 geologic map of Virginia—expanded explanation. Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Publication 174:61–63Google Scholar
  5. Canfield HE, Lopes VL, Goodrich DC (2001) Hillslope characteristics and particle size composition of surficial armoring on a semiarid watershed in the southwestern United States. Catena 44:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen SC (1998) Reservoir sedimentation and land use in Taiwan Wusheh watershed. Int J Sediment Res 13:31–39Google Scholar
  7. Clark JJ, Wilcock PR (2000) Effects of land-use change on channel morphology in northeastern Puerto Rico. GSA Bull 112:1763–1777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dissmeyer GE, Foster GR (1980) A guide for predicting sheet and rill erosion on forest land. Technical Publication SA-TP-11, USDA Forest Service and Private Forestry-Southeastern AreaGoogle Scholar
  9. Eakins JD, Morrison RT (1978) A new procedure for the determination of Lead-210 in lake and marine sediments. Int J Appl Radiat Isot 29:531–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elder JH Jr (1985) Soil Survey of Spotsylvania County, Virginia. US Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  11. Foster IDL, Walling DE (1994) Using reservoir deposits to reconstruct changing sediment yields and sources in the catchment of the Old Mill Reservoir, South Devon, UK, over the past 50 years. Hydrol Sci 39:347–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Foster GR, Toy T, Renard KG (2003) Comparison of the USLE, RUSLE1.06c, and RUSLE2 for application to highly disturbed lands. In: Proceedings first interagency conference on research in the watersheds, pp 154–160Google Scholar
  13. Fu BJ, Zhao WW, Chen LD, Zhang QJ, Lü YH, Gulinck H, Poesen J (2005) Assessment of soil erosion at large watershed scale using RUSLE and GIS: a case study in Loess Plateau of China. Land Degrad Dev 16:73–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fu B, Zhao W, Chen L, Lu Y, Wang D (2006) A multiscale soil evaluation index. Chin Sci Bull 51:448–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Houser JN, Mulholland PJ, Maloney KO (2006) Upland disturbance affects headwater stream nutrients and suspended sediments during baseflow and stormflow. J Environ Qual 35:352–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Laflen JM, Flannagan DC, Engel BA (2004) Soil erosion and sediment yield prediction accuracy using WEPP. J Am Water Res Assoc 40:289–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lake Anna Special Area Plan Committee (2000) Lake Anna special area plan. pp 113Google Scholar
  18. Lufafa A, Tenywas MM, Isabirye M, Majaliwa MJG, Woomer PL (2003) Prediction of soil erosion in a Lake Victoria basin catchment using GIS-based Universal Soil Loss mode. Agric Syst 76:883–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Matsumoto E, Wong CS (1977) Heavy metal sedimentation in Saanich Inlet measure with 210Pb technique. J Geophys Res 82:5477–5481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Newman DJ, Perault DR, Shahady TD (2006) Watershed development and sediment accumulation in a small urban lake. Lake Res Manage 22:303–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Nriagu J, Kemp ALW, Wong HKT, Harper N (1979) Sedimentary record of heavy metal pollution in Lake Erie. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 43:247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Odhiambo BK (2007) Sediment chronology to aid in historical analysis of PCB influx in Lake Anna sediments: Spotsylvania and Orange Counties, Virginia. US Army Corps of Engineers, NorfolkGoogle Scholar
  23. Odhiambo BK, Boss SK (2004) Integrated eco sounder, GPS, and GIS for reservoir sedimentation studies: examples from two Arkansas lakes. J Am Water Res Assoc 40:981–997CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Odhiambo BK, Boss SK (2006) Watershed physiography, land use, and sediment yield: a case study from Northwest Arkansas, USA. J Spatial Hydrol 6:29–51Google Scholar
  25. Odhiambo BK, Macdonald RW, O’Brien MC, Harper JR, Yunker MB (1996) Transport and fate of mine tailings in a coastal fjord of British Columbia as inferred from sediment record. Sci Total Environ 191:77–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pemberton EL (1980) Survey and prediction of sedimentation in reservoirs. In: Shen HW, Kikkawa H (eds) Application of stochastic processes in sediment transport. Water Resources Publications, LittletonGoogle Scholar
  27. Renard, KG, Foster GR, Weesies GA, McCool DK, Yoder DC (1997) Predicting soil erosion by water: a guide to conservation planning with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook No. 703Google Scholar
  28. Renard KG, Foster GR, Weesies GA, McCool DK, Yoder DC (2003) User’s guide: Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation Ver 2. US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  29. Ricker MC, Odhiambo BK, Church JM (2008) Spatial analysis of soil erosion and sediment fluxes: a paired watershed study of two Rappahannock River tributaries, Stafford County, Virginia. Environ Manage 41:766–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sharpley AN, McDowell RW, Weld JL, Kleinman PJA (2001) Assessing site vulnerability to phosphorus loss in an agricultural watershed. J Environ Qual 30:2026–2036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shotbolt LA, Thomas AD, Hutchinson SM (2005) The use of reservoir sediments as environmental archives of catchment inputs and atmospheric pollution. Prog Phys Geogr 29:337–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Snyder NP, Wright SA, Alpers CN, Flint LE, Holmes CW, Rubin DM (2006) Reconstructing depositional processes and history from reservoir stratigraphy: Englebright Lake, Yuba River, northern California. J Geophys Res. doi:10.1029/2005JF000451
  33. Ssemmanda I, Ryves DB, Bennike O, Appleby PG (2005) Vegetation history in western Uganda during the last 1200 years: a sediment-based reconstruction from two crater lakes. Holocene 15:119–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stallard RF (1998) Terrestrial sedimentation and the carbon cycle: coupling weathering and erosion to carbon burial. Global Biogeochem Cycles 12:231–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Trimble SW (1997) Contribution of stream channel erosion to sediment yield from an urbanizing watershed. Science 278:1442–1443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. US Army Corps of Engineers (2005) Literature review and land use history of a portion of the Lake Anna watershed, Spotsylvania and Orange Counties, Virginia. Report prepared by Vasar IncGoogle Scholar
  37. Verstraeten G, Poesen J (2004) Factors controlling sediment yield from small intensively cultivated catchments in a temperate humid climate. Geomorphology 40:123–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Walling DE (2004) Using environmental radionuclides to trace sediment mobilization and delivery in river basins as an aid to catchment management. In: Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on River Sedimentation, October 18–21, 2004, Yichang, ChinaGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang X, Cui P (2005) Support soil conservation practices by identifying critical erosion areas within an American watershed using the GIS-AGNPS model. J Spat Hydrol 5:31–44Google Scholar
  40. Wischmeier WH, Smith DD (1978) Predicting rainfall erosion losses: a guide to conservation planning. US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook 537Google Scholar
  41. Wissmar RC, Timm RK, Logsdon MG (2004) Effects of changing forest and impervious land covers on discharge characteristics of watersheds. Environ Manage 34:91–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zajaczkowski M, Szczucinski W, Bojanowski R (2004) Recent changes in sediment accumulation rates in Adventfjorden, Svalbard. Oceanologi 46:217–231Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental ScienceUniversity of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

Personalised recommendations