Annual yields (fluxes per unit area) of Al, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, Co, As and Se were estimated for two small non-tidal stream catchments on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, United States - a poorly drained dissected-upland watershed in the Nanticoke River Basin, and a well-drained feeder tributary in the lower reaches of the Chester River Basin. Both watersheds are dominated by agriculture. A hydrograph-separation technique was used to determine the baseflow and stormflow components of metal yields, thus providing important insights into the effects of hydrology and climate on the transport of metals. Concentrations of suspended-sediment were used as a less-costly proxy of metal concentrations which are generally associated with particles. Results were compared to other studies in Chesapeake Bay and to general trends in metal concentrations across the United States. The study documented a larger than background yield of Zn and Co from the upper Nanticoke River Basin and possibly enriched concentrations of As, Cd and Se from both the upper Nanticoke River and the Chesterville Branch (a tributary of the lower Chester River). The annual yield of total Zn from the Nanticoke River Basin in 1998 was 18,000 g/km2/a, and was two to three times higher than yields reported from comparable river basins in the region. Concentrations of Cd also were high in both basins when compared to crustal concentrations and to other national data, but were within reasonable agreement with other Chesapeake Bay studies. Thus, Cd may be enriched locally either in natural materials or from agriculture.
Additional publication details
Baseflow and stormflow metal fluxes from two small agricultural catchments in the Coastal Plain of the Chesapeake Bay Basin, United States