Recently, effects of lakes and reservoirs on river nutrient export have been incorporated into landscape biogeochemical models. Because annual export varies with precipitation, there is a need to examine the biogeochemical role of lakes and reservoirs over time frames that incorporate interannual variability in precipitation. We examined long-term (~20 years) time series of river export (annual mass yield, Y, and flow-weighted mean annual concentration, C) for total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and total suspended sediment (TSS) from 54 catchments in Wisconsin, USA. Catchments were classified as small agricultural, large agricultural, and forested by use of a cluster analysis, and these varied in lentic coverage (percentage of catchment lake or reservoir water that was connected to river network). Mean annual export and interannual variability (CV) of export (for both Y and C) were higher in agricultural catchments relative to forested catchments for TP, TN, and TSS. In both agricultural and forested settings, mean and maximum annual TN yields were lower in the presence of lakes and reservoirs, suggesting lentic denitrification or N burial. There was also evidence of long-term lentic TP and TSS retention, especially when viewed in terms of maximum annual yield, suggesting sedimentation during high loading years. Lentic catchments had lower interannual variability in export. For TP and TSS, interannual variability in mass yield was often >50% higher than interannual variability in water yield, whereas TN variability more closely followed water (discharge) variability. Our results indicate that long-term mass export through rivers depends on interacting terrestrial, aquatic, and meteorological factors in which the presence of lakes and reservoirs can reduce the magnitude of export, stabilize interannual variability in export, as well as introduce export time lags.
|Citation Search Results Text: ||Effects of lakes and reservoirs on annual river nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment export in agricultural and forested landscapes; 2014; Journal Article; Hydrological Processes; Powers, Steve M.; Robertson, Dale M.; Stanley, Emily H.