Advertisement

Environmental Management

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 663–671 | Cite as

Impacts of freshwater wetlands on water quality: A landscape perspective

  • Dennis F. Whigham
  • Carin Chitterling
  • Brian Palmer
Section III Cumulative Impacts to Wetlands and Water Quality

Abstract

In this article, we suggest that a landscape approach might be useful in evaluating the effects of cumulative impacts on freshwater wetlands. The reason for using this approach is that most watersheds contain more than one wetland, and effects on water quality depend on the types of wetlands and their position in the landscape. Riparian areas that border uplands appear to be important sites for nitrogen processing and retention of large sediment particles. Fine particles associated with high concentrations of phosphorus are retained in downstream wetlands, where flow rates are slowed and where the surface water passes through plant litter. Riverine systems also may play an important role in processing nutrients, primarily during flooding events. Lacustrine wetlands appear to have the least impact on water quality, due to the small ratio of vegetated surface to open water. Examples are given of changes that occurred when the hydrology of a Maryland floodplain was altered.

Key words

Cumulative impacts Freshwater wetlands Lacustrine Landscape ecology Palustrine Riparian Riverine Sediment Water quality Wetland continuum 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Bayley, S. E., J. Zoltek, Jr., A. J. Hermann, T. J. Dolan, and L. Tortora. 1985. Experimental manipulation of nutrients and water in a freshwater marsh: Effects on biomass, decomposition, and nutrient accumulation.Limnology and Oceanography 30:500–512.Google Scholar
  2. Boyt, R. L., S. E. Bayley, and J. Zoltek. 1977. Removal of nutrients from treated municipal wastewater by wetland vegetation.Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation 49:789–799.Google Scholar
  3. Brinson, M. M. 1988. Strategies for assessing the cumulative effects of wetland alteration on water quality.Environmental Management 12(5):655–662.Google Scholar
  4. Brinson, M. M., H. D. Bradshaw, and E. S. Kane. 1984. Nutrient assimilative capacity of an alluvial floodplain swamp.Journal of Applied Ecology 21:1041–1057.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, R. G. 1985. Effects of an urban wetland on sediment and nutrient loads in runoff.Wetlands 4:147–158.Google Scholar
  6. Carter, V. 1986. An overview of the hydrologic concerns related to wetlands in the United States.Canadian Journal of Botany 64:364–374.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, J. R., and J. E. Clark. 1979. Scientists' report. The National Symposium on Wetlands. National Wetlands Technical Council, Washington, D.C. 129 pp.Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, J. R., J. W. Gilliam, and T. C. Jacobs. 1986. Riparian areas as a control of nonpoint pollutants. Pages 166–192in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  9. Davis, C. B., J. L. Baker, A. G. van der Valk, and C. E. Beers. 1981. Prairie pothole marshes as traps for nitrogen and phosphorus in agricultural runoff. Pages 153–164in B. Richardson (ed.), Selected Proceedings of the Midwest Conference on Wetland Values and Management. Fresh-water Society, Navarre, Minnesota.Google Scholar
  10. Fetter, C. W., Jr., W. E. Sloey, and F. L. Spangler. 1978. Use of a natural marsh for wastewater polishing.Journal of the Water Pollution Control Federation 50:290–307.Google Scholar
  11. Gilliam, J. W., R. W. Skaggs, and C. W. Doty. 1986. Controlled agricultural drainage: An alternative to riparian vegetation. Pages 225–243in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  12. Hemond, H. F., and J. Benoit. 1988. Cumulative impacts on water quality functions of wetlands.Environmental Management 12(5):639–653.Google Scholar
  13. Howard-Williams, C. 1985. Cycling and retention of nitrogen and phosphorus in wetlands: A theoretical and applied perspective.Freshwater Biology 15:391–431.Google Scholar
  14. Johnson, R. R., and J. F. McCormick (tech. coord.). 1979. Strategies for the protection and management of flood-plain wetlands and other riparian ecosystems. Proceedings of the Symposium at Calaway Gardens, Georgia. U.S. Forest Service General Technical Report WO-12, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  15. Jordan, T. E., D. L. Correll, W. T. Peterjohn, and D. E. Weller. 1986. Nutrient flux in a landscape: The Rhode River watershed and receiving waters. Pages 57–76in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  16. Kadlec, R. H. 1983. The Bellaire wetland: Wastewater alteration and recovery.Wetlands 3:44–63.Google Scholar
  17. Kadlec, R. H. 1985. Aging phenomena in wastewater wetlands. Pages 338–350in P. J. Godfrey, E. R. Kaynor, S. Pelczarski, and J. Benforado (eds.), Ecological considerations in wetlands treatment of municipal wastewaters. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Kadlec, R. H., and J. A. Kadlec. 1979. Wetlands and water quality. Pages 436–456in P. E. Greeson, J. R. Clark, and J. E. Clark (eds.), Wetland functions and values: The state of our understanding. American Water Resources Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota.Google Scholar
  19. Kelly, J. R., and M. A. Harwell. 1985. Comparisons of the processing of elements by ecosystems. I. Nutrients. Pages 137–157in P. J. Godfrey, E. R. Kaynor, S. Pelczarski, and J. Benforado (eds.), Ecological considerations in wetlands treatment of municipal wastewater. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Kemp, G. P., W. H. Conner, and J. W. Day, Jr. 1985. Effects of flooding on decomposition and nutrient cycling in a Louisiana swamp forest.Wetlands 5:35–52.Google Scholar
  21. Kuenzler, E. J., and N. J. Craig. 1986. Land use and nutrient yields of the Chowan River watershed. Pages 77–107in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  22. LaBaugh, J. W. 1986. Wetland ecosystem studies from a hydrologic perspective.Water Resources Bulletin 22:1–10.Google Scholar
  23. Larson, J. S., and O. L. Loucks. 1978. Workshop report on research priorities for wetland ecosystem analysis. National Wetlands Technical Council, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  24. Lowrance, R. R., R. L. Todd, and L. E. Asmussen. 1984a. Nutrient cycling in an agricultural watershed. I. Phreatic movement.Journal of Environmental Quality 13:22–27.Google Scholar
  25. Lowrance, R. R., R. L. Todd, J. Fail, Jr., O. Hendrickson, Jr., R. Leonard, and L. Asmussen. 1984b. Riparian forests as nutrient filters in agricultural watersheds.BioScience 34: 374–378.Google Scholar
  26. Mitsch, W. J., C. L. Dorge, and J. R. Wiemhoff. 1979. Ecosystem dynamics and a phosphorus budget of an alluvial cypress swamp in southern Illinois.Ecology 60:1116–1124.Google Scholar
  27. Monke, E. J., D. W. Nelson, D. B. Beasley, and A. B. Bottcher. 1982. Sediment and nutrient movement from the Black Creek watershed.Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers 24:391–395.Google Scholar
  28. Mulholland, P. J., L. A. Yarbro, R. P. Sniffen, and E. J. Kuenzler. 1986. Effects of floods on nutrient and metal concentrations in a coastal plain stream.Water Resources Research 17:758–764.Google Scholar
  29. Naiman, R. J. 1982. The Matamek research program: Annual report for 1981. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  30. Naiman, R. J., and J. M. Melillo. 1984. Nitrogen budget of a subarctic stream altered by beaver (Castor canadensis).Oecologia (Berlin) 62:150–155.Google Scholar
  31. Naiman, R. J., J. M. Melillo, and J. E. Hobbie. 1986. Ecosystem alteration of a boreal forest stream by beaver (Castor canadensis).Ecology 67:1254–1269.Google Scholar
  32. Naiman, R. J., J. M. Melillo, M. A. Lock, T. E. Ford, and S. R. Reice. 1987. Longitudinal patterns of ecosystem processes and community structure in a subarctic river continuum.Ecology, 68:1139–1156.Google Scholar
  33. Nixon, S. W., and V. Lee. 1988. Wetlands and water quality. A regional review of recent research in the United States on the role of freshwater and saltwater wetlands as sources, sinks, and transformers of nitrogen, phosphorus, and various heavy metals. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C., in press.Google Scholar
  34. Oberts, G. L. 1981. Impact of wetlands on watershed water quality. Pages 213–226in B. Richardson (ed.), Selected Proceedings of the Midwest Conference on Wetland Values and Management. Freshwater Society, Navarre, Minnesota.Google Scholar
  35. Odum, H. T. 1982. Role of wedand ecosystems in the landscape of Florida. Pages 33–72in D. O. Logofet and N. K. Lyckyanov (compilers), Ecosystem dynamics in freshwater wetlands and shallow water bodies, vol. 2. Centre for International Projects GKNT, Moscow, USSR.Google Scholar
  36. Omernik, J. M., A. R. Abernathy, and L. M. Male. 1981. Stream nutrient levels and proximity of agricultural and forest land to streams: Some relationships.Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 36:227–231.Google Scholar
  37. Patten, B. C., and J. H. Matis. 1982. The macrohydrology of Okefenokee Swamp. Pages 218–235in D. O. Logofet and N. K. Kyckyanov (compilers), Ecosystem dynamics in fresh-water wetlands and shallow water bodies, vol. 2. Centre for International Projects GKNT, Moscow, USSR.Google Scholar
  38. Peterjohn, W. T., and D. L. Correll. 1984. Nutrient dynamics in an agricultural watershed: Observations on the role of a riparian forest.Ecology 65:1466–1475.Google Scholar
  39. Peterjohn, W. T., and D. L. Correll. 1986. The effect of riparian forest on the volume and chemical composition of baseflow in an agricultural watershed. Pages 244–262in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  40. Richardson, C. J. 1985. Mechanisms controlling phosphorus retention capacity in freshwater wetlands.Science 228:1424–1427.Google Scholar
  41. Richardson, C. J. 1988. Biochemical cycling in freshwater wetlands: A landscape perspective.In S. Jorgenson (ed.), Ecosystem dynamics in freshwater wetlands and shallow bodies of water. John Wiley and Sons, New York, in press.Google Scholar
  42. Richardson, C. J., and P. E. Marshall. 1986. Processes controlling movement, storage, and export of phosphorus in a fen peatland.Ecological Monographs 56:279–302.Google Scholar
  43. Richardson, C. J., and D. S. Nichols. 1985. Ecological analysis of wastewater management criteria in wetland ecosystems. Pages 351–391in P. J. Godfrey, E. R. Kaynor, S. Pelczarski, and J. Benforado (eds.), Ecological considerations in wetlands treatment of municipal wastewaters. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  44. Risser, P. G. 1985. Toward a holistic management perspective.BioScience 35:414–418.Google Scholar
  45. Rykiel, E. J., Jr. 1977. The Okefenokee Swamp watershed: Water balance and nutrient budgets. Dissertation. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.Google Scholar
  46. Schlosser, I. J., and J. R. Karr. 1981. Riparian vegetation and channel morphology impact on spatial patterns of water quality in agricultural watersheds.Environmental Management 5:233–243.Google Scholar
  47. Urban, D. L., R. V. O'Neill, and H. H. Shugart, Jr. 1987. Landscape ecology.BioScience 37:119–127.Google Scholar
  48. Vannote, R. L., G. W. Minshall, K. W. Cummins, J. R. Sedell, and C. E. Cushing. 1980. The river continuum concept.Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 37:130–137.Google Scholar
  49. Verry, E. S., and D. R. Timmons. 1982. Waterborne nutrient flow through an upland-peatland watershed in Minnesota.Ecology 63:1456–1467.Google Scholar
  50. Vitt, D. H., and S. Bayley. 1984. The vegetation and water chemistry of four oligotrophic basin mires in northwestern Ontario.Canadian Journal of Botany 62:1485–1500.Google Scholar
  51. Whigham, D. F., and S. E. Bayley. 1979. Nutrient dynamics in freshwater wetlands. Pages 468–478in P. E. Greeson, J. R. Clark, and J. E. Clark (eds.), Wetland functions and values: The state of our understanding. American Water Resources Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota.Google Scholar
  52. Whigham, D. F., C. Chitterling, B. Palmer, and J. O'Neill. 1986. Modification of runoff from upland watersheds: The influences of a diverse riparian ecosystem. Pages 305–332in D. L. Correll (ed.), Watershed research perspectives. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  53. Yarbro, L. A. 1979. Phosphorus cycling in the Creeping Swamp floodplain ecosystem and exports from the Creeping Swamp watershed. Dissertation. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.Google Scholar
  54. Yarbro, L. A., E. J. Kuenzler, P. J. Mulholland, and R. P. Sniffen. 1984. Effects of stream channelization on exports of nitrogen and phosphorus from North Carolina Coastal Plain watersheds.Environmental Management 8:151–160.Google Scholar
  55. Zedler, J. B., and M. E. Kentula. 1985. Wetlands research plan. Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Corvallis, Oregon.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis F. Whigham
    • 1
  • Carin Chitterling
    • 1
  • Brian Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA

Personalised recommendations