SPARROW modeling of nitrogen sources and transport in rivers and streams of California and adjacent states, U.S.

Journal of the American Water Resources Association
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Abstract

The SPARROW (SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes) model was used to evaluate the spatial distribution of total nitrogen (TN) sources, loads, watershed yields, and factors affecting transport and decay in the stream network of California and portions of adjacent states for the year 2002. The two major TN sources to local catchments on a mass basis were fertilizers and manure (51.7%) and wastewater discharge (15.9%). Other sources contributed < 12%. Fertilizer use is widespread in the Central Valley region of California, and also important in several other regions because of the diversity of California agriculture. Precipitation, sand content of surficial soils, wetlands, and tile drains were important for TN movement to stream reaches. Median streamflow in the study area is about 0.04 m3/s. Aquatic losses of nitrogen were found to be most important in intermittent and small to medium sized streams (0.2-14 m3/s), while larger streams showed less loss, and therefore are important for TN transport. Nitrogen loss in reservoirs was found to be insignificant, possibly because most of the larger ones are located upstream of nitrogen sources. The model was used to show loadings, sources, and tributary inputs to several major rivers. The information provided by the SPARROW model is useful for determining both the major sources contributing nitrogen to streams and the specific tributaries that transport the load.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title SPARROW modeling of nitrogen sources and transport in rivers and streams of California and adjacent states, U.S.
Series title Journal of the American Water Resources Association
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.12325
Volume 51
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 20 p.
First page 1487
Last page 1507
Country United States
State California
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