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Relation of nitrate concentrations to baseflow in the Raccoon River, Iowa

Journal of the American Water Resources Association

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Abstract

Excessive nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate) export from the Raccoon River in west central Iowa is an environmental concern to downstream receptors. The 1972 to 2000 record of daily streamflow and the results from 981 nitrate measurements were examined to describe the relation of nitrate to streamflow in the Raccoon River. No long term trends in streamflow and nitrate concentrations were noted in the 28-year record. Strong seasonal patterns were evident in nitrate concentrations, with higher concentrations occurring in spring and fall. Nitrate concentrations were linearly related to streamflow at daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual time scales. At all time scales evaluated, the relation was improved when baseflow was used as the discharge variable instead of total streamflow. Nitrate concentrations were found to be highly stratified according to flow, but there was little relation of nitrate to streamflow within each flow range. Simple linear regression models developed to predict monthly mean nitrate concentrations explained as much as 76 percent of the variability in the monthly nitrate concentration data for 2001. Extrapolation of current nitrate baseflow relations to historical conditions in the Raccoon River revealed that increasing baseflow over the 20th century could account for a measurable increase in nitrate concentrations.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Relation of nitrate concentrations to baseflow in the Raccoon River, Iowa
Series title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume
40
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
First page:
889
Last page:
900
Number of Pages:
12