Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 73, Issue 10, pp 6577–6590 | Cite as

Stream and shallow groundwater nutrient concentrations in an Ozark forested riparian zone of the central USA

  • Pennan Chinnasamy
  • Jason A. Hubbart
Original Article


Characterizing spatiotemporal variations in surface water (SW)–shallow groundwater (GW) nutrient concentrations is important to predict stream ecosystem responses to disturbance. Unfortunately, there is a lack of such information from mixed-deciduous semi-karst hydro-geological regions. Nitrate (NO3 ), total phosphorous (P), potassium (K) and ammonium (NH4 +) concentrations were monitored in a case study between an Ozark stream and riparian hardwood forest GW over the 2011 water year in the central USA. Average SW NO3 , P, K and NH4 + concentrations were 0.53, 0.13, 3.29 and 0.06 mg L−1, respectively. Nine meters from the streambank, average GW NO3 concentration was 0.01 mg L−1, while P, K and NH4 + concentrations were 0.03, 1.7 and 0.04 mg L−1, respectively. Hyperbolic dilution model results indicated that NO3 and K exhibited dilution behavior, while NH4 + had a concentration effect and P was hydrologically constant. Observed seasonal NO3 concentration patterns of winter maxima and summer minima in SW (1.164 and 0.133 mg L−1) and GW (0.019 and 0.011 mg L−1) were supported by previous studies yet exhibited distinct semi-karst characteristics. Results indicate that in addition to relatively low residence time, lower nutrient concentrations in GW (relative to SW) may suggest that shallow GW flow processes are important for vegetation removal and retention of nutrients from streams in semi-karst shallow groundwater systems of the central USA.


Nutrients Semi-karst Shallow groundwater Ozark forest Riparian zone 



Funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 (Grant Number: CD-97701401-0). Results presented may not reflect the views of the EPA and no official endorsement should be inferred. Gratitude is extended to multiple members of the Interdisciplinary Hydrology Lab of the University of Missouri, School of Natural Resources. Sincere gratitude is extended to Stephen Pallardy and Kevin Hosman for climate data and valuable information about the BWREC, and multiple reviewers whose comments improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ForestryUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.International Water Management InstituteLalitpurNepal
  3. 3.Department of Forestry, Water Resources ProgramUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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