Relationship between sediment chemistry, equilibrium phosphorus concentrations, and phosphorus concentrations at baseflow in rivers of the New Zealand National River Water Quality Network
Stream sediments can act as a source or a sink of dissolved (filtered) phosphorus (P) via abiotic and biotic processes. The cumulative action and magnitude of abiotic processes has been quantified by the equilibrium P concentration at zero net sorption or desorption (EPC₀). The EPC₀ was determined in 76 large rivers of contrasting climate, topography, and geology across New Zealand. Measurements of EPC₀ (0.004-0.065 mg L¯¹) indicated sediments were acting as a source of filtered reactive P (FRP) to the water column. The EPC₀ was related to the proportion of intensive agriculture in the catchment, the concentration of readily available P in the sediment, sediment size, and catchment slope and elevation. Determination of EPC₀ will yield a relative assessment of the sediment's ability to supply P to the water column especially at baseflow. Furthermore, the EPC₀ may be less prone to short-term variation (e.g., diurnal patterns) compared with grab samples. This information will help target efforts to mitigate FRP concentrations in rivers by managing sediment inputs. Additional work is required to determine, for instance, how long an EPC₀ measurement remains valid before new sediment is deposited or existing sediment is scoured.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordssediment; sediment chemistry; equilibrium; phosphorus; river; stream; New Zealand; water; water quality; Agronomy & Agriculture
Fields of Research040603 Hydrogeology; 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.); 040608 Surfacewater Hydrology; 0503 Soil Sciences; 050304 Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science); 04 Earth Sciences; 05 Environmental Sciences; 06 Biological Sciences
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