Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 69–82

Estimating phosphorus retention of existing and restored coastal wetlands in a tributary watershed of the Laurentian Great Lakes in Michigan, USA

  • N. Wang
  • W.J. Mitsch
Article

Abstract

Simulation modeling with uncertainty analysis was applied to the question of nonpoint source pollution control through extensive wetland restoration. The model was applied to the Quanicassee River basin, a tributary stream to Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron in northeastern Michigan, USA. An estimate of the role of the existing 695 ha of riverside and lake-side wetlands in the lower Quanicassee River basin suggests that they retain 1.2 metric tons of phosphorus per year (mt P/yr), or 2.5% of the total phosphorus load from the basin. A simple Vollenweider-type model of phosphorus retention by created wetlands, calibrated with 3-years of data from two wetland sites in Midwestern USA, was used to estimate the effect of major wetland restoration in the basin. For a wetland restoration project involving 15% of the Quanicassee River basin or 3,120 ha of wetlands, an estimated 33 mt P/yr could be retained, assuming a proper hydrologic connection between the wetlands and the river. This would represent a reduction of two-thirds of the existing phosphorus load to the Bay from the Quanicassee River basin. Large-scale wetland restoration appears to be a viable management practice for controlling phosphorus and other nonpoint source pollution from entering Saginaw Bay. It is an alternative that meets two major resource goals – developing wetland habitat and controlling pollution to the Great Lakes.

coastal wetlands Great Lakes phosphorus retention Saginaw Bay uncertainty analysis Vollenweider-type model wetland restoration 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Wang
    • 1
  • W.J. Mitsch
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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