The ability to achieve meaningful decreases in sediment loads to reservoirs requires a determination of the relative importance of sediment sources within the contributing basins. In an investigation of sources of fine-grained sediment (clay and silt) within the Perry Lake Basin in northeast Kansas, representative samples of channel-bank sources, surface-soil sources (cropland and grassland), and reservoir bottom sediment were collected, chemically analyzed, and compared. The samples were sieved to isolate the <63 ?? m fraction and analyzed for selected nutrients (total nitrogen and total phosphorus), organic and total carbon, 25 trace elements, and the radionuclide cesium-137 (137Cs). On the basis of substantial and consistent compositional differences among the source types, total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), total organic carbon (TOC), and 137Cs were selected for use in the estimation of sediment sources. To further account for differences in particle-size composition between the sources and the reservoir bottom sediment, constituent ratio and clay-normalization techniques were used. Computed ratios included TOC to TN, TOC to TP, and TN to TP. Constituent concentrations (TN, TP, TOC) and activities (137Cs) were normalized by dividing by the percentage of clay. Thus, the sediment-source estimations involved the use of seven sediment-source indicators. Within the Perry Lake Basin, the consensus of the seven indicators was that both channel-bank and surface-soil sources were important in the Atchison County Lake and Banner Creek Reservoir subbasins, whereas channel-bank sources were dominant in the Mission Lake subbasin. On the sole basis of 137Cs activity, surface-soil sources contributed the most fine-grained sediment to Atchison County Lake, and channel-bank sources contributed the most fine-grained sediment to Banner Creek Reservoir and Mission Lake. Both the seven-indicator consensus and 137Cs indicated that channel-bank sources were dominant for Perry Lake and that channel-bank sources increased in importance with distance downstream in the basin. ?? 2009 International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation and the World Association for Sedimentation and Erosion Research.
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Estimation of sediment sources using selected chemical tracers in the Perry lake basin, Kansas, USA