The tributaries of Green Bay have long been recognized as major sources of phosphorus in the Lake Michigan basin. The status of Green Bay as a sink or source of phosphorus for Lake Michigan proper has been less well defined. The bay receives nearly 70% of its annual load of phosphorus (700 metric tons (t)??year-1) from a single source: the Fox River. Most of this phosphorus is deposited in sediments accumulating at rates that reach 160 mg??cm-2??year-1 with an average of 20 mg??cm-2 year-1. The phosphorus content of these sediments varies from <5 to >70 ??mol??g-1. Deposition is highly focused, with ???0% of the total sediment accumulation and at least 80% of the phosphorus burial occurring within 20% of the surface area of the bay. Diagenetic and stoichiometric models of phosphorus cycling imply that >80% of the phosphorus deposited is permanently buried. External phosphorus loading to the bay is combined with sediment fluxes of phophorus to arrive at a simple phosphorus budget. Green Bay acts as an efficient nutrient trap, with the sediments retaining an estimated 70-90% of the external phosphorus inputs before flowing into Lake Michigan.
Additional Publication Details
Sedimentary phosphorus cycling and a phosphorus mass balance for the Green Bay (Lake Michigan) ecosystem
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences