A new approach to generalizing riparian water and air quality function across regions

  • Yasaman T. Hassanzadeh
  • Philippe G. VidonEmail author
  • Arthur J. Gold
  • Soni M. Pradhanang
  • Kelly Addy


There is growing interest in generalizing the impact of hydrogeomorphology and weather variables on riparian functions. Here, we used RZ-TRADEOFF to estimate nitrogen, phosphorus, water table (WT) depth, and greenhouse gas (GHG: N2O, CO2, CH4) functions for 80 riparian zones typical of the North American Midwest, Northeast (including Southern Ontario, Canada), and Mid-Atlantic. Sensitivity to weather perturbations was calculated for temperature and precipitation-dependent functions (CO2, phosphate concentration, and water table), and multivariate statistical analysis on model outputs was conducted to determine trade-offs between riparian functions. Mean model estimates were 93.10 cm for WT depth, 8.45 mg N L−1 for field edge nitrate concentration, 51.57% for nitrate removal, 0.45 mg PO43− L−1 for field edge phosphate concentration, 1.5% for subsurface phosphate removal, 91.24% for total overland phosphorus removal, 0.51 mg N m−2 day−1 for N2O flux, 5.5 g C m−2 day−1 for CO2 fluxes, and − 0.41 mg C m−2 day−1 and 621.51 mg C m−2 day−1 for CH4 fluxes in non-peat sites and peat sites, respectively. Sites in colder climates were most sensitive to weather perturbations for CO2, sites with deep water tables estimates had the highest sensitivity for WT, and sites in warm climates and/or with deep confining layers had the lowest sensitivity for phosphate concentration. Slope, confining layer depth, and temperature were the primary characteristics influencing similarities and trade-offs between sites. This research contributes to understanding how to optimize riparian restoration and protection in watersheds based on both water (nitrogen, phosphorus) and air quality (GHG) goals.


Riparian Nitrate Phosphate Greenhouse gases RZ-TRADEOFF 



Funding for this research was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) Award # 2015-67019-23586 to Vidon P., Gold A., Lowrance, R., Addy, K., Pradhanang, S., and Beier, C. The views and opinions expressed in this paper only represent those of the authors, and not necessarily those of USDA-NIFA.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasaman T. Hassanzadeh
    • 1
  • Philippe G. Vidon
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arthur J. Gold
    • 2
  • Soni M. Pradhanang
    • 3
  • Kelly Addy
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest and Natural Resources ManagementThe State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF)SyracuseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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