Sources and fate of nutrients in a subtropical reservoir
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This study examined the sources and fate of nutrient inputs from two principal tributaries to the eutrophic subtropical Wivenhoe reservoir: an unregulated river and a dammed river with regular releases, during a period of declining reservoir water levels. Nutrient budgets were constructed over a period of 6 years, and combined with short-term data on nutrient concentrations and forms, and d15N stable isotope data. Our study found that over a 6 year period, there was net retention of phosphorus (P) in the reservoir, with 60% of inputs retained. Most of the P input load came from the unregulated river, with an agricultural catchment, during periods of high flow. During one event half of the total TP load from the unregulated river in the study period was delivered in only 12 days. Much of the P was dissolved inorganic P (DIP) and was derived from high P concentrations in soils and sediments. This highlights the importance of appropriate catchment management practices to reduce P losses from terrestrial systems because retention of P in reservoir sediments reduces the availability of this nutrient for agricultural production. In contrast, there was negligible retention of nitrogen (N). The unregulated river was an important source of N derived from N fixation in the river and adjacent soils, while the source from the dammed river was mostly reprocessed N. The high retention of P relative to N is consistent with relatively higher accumulation of P in sediments.
© 2012 Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland. This is an electronic version of an article published in Aquatic Sciences, Vol.74(1), 2012, pp.179-190. Aquatic Sciences is available online at: http://link.springer.com// with the open URL of your article.