Dynamics in phosphorus retention in wetlands upstream of Delavan Lake, Wisconsin

Lake and Reservoir Management
By: , and 



A phosphorus budget was constructed for Delavan Lake Inlet, a perennial riverine wetland with submersed and floating aquatic vegetation in southeastern Wisconsin, to better understand the phosphorus dynamics in natural wetlands and the role of wetlands in lake-rehabilitation efforts. During the growing season, the inlet served as a net source of phosphorus, primarily due to the release of phosphorus from the sediments. More phosphorus was released from the sediments of the inlet (600 kg) than was input from the upstream watershed (460 kg). This release was caused by high pH associated with high photosynthetic activity. During the remainder of the year, the inlet served as a net sink for phosphorus, retaining 6% of die phosphorus input from the watershed. Over the entire year, this wetland was a net source of over 500 kg of phosphorus to downstream Delavan Lake. A constructed riverine wetland upstream of Delavan Lake Inlet demonstrated a similar periodic release of phosphorus. However, in this case, the summer release of phosphorus was less than that trapped during the remainder of the year. The constructed wetland served as a net sink for approximately 20% of the input phosphorus on an annual time scale. The role of existing and constructed wetlands as phosphorus traps is complex. Wetlands can act as a source or a sink for phosphorus depending on the ambient conditions in die wetland. Howa wetland fits into a rehabilitation plan depends upon its net retention efficiency and the importance of the periodic releases of phosphorus to downstream waters.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Dynamics in phosphorus retention in wetlands upstream of Delavan Lake, Wisconsin
Series title Lake and Reservoir Management
DOI 10.1080/07438149809354353
Volume 14
Issue 4
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher The North American Lake Management Society
Description 12 p.
First page 466
Last page 477
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Other Geospatial Delevan Lake, Elkhorn, Jackson Creek
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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