Inputs and internal cycling of nitrogen to a causeway influenced, hypersaline lake, Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA

Aquatic Geochemistry
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Abstract

Nitrogen inputs to Great Salt Lake (GSL), located in the western USA, were quantified relative to the resident nitrogen mass in order to better determine numeric nutrient criteria that may be considered at some point in the future. Total dissolved nitrogen inputs from four surface-water sources entering GSL were modeled during the 5-year study period (2010–2014) and ranged from 1.90 × 106 to 5.56 × 106 kg/year. The railroad causeway breach was a significant conduit for the export of dissolved nitrogen from Gilbert to Gunnison Bay, and in 2011 and 2012, net losses of total nitrogen mass from Gilbert Bay via the Causeway breach were 9.59 × 105 and 1.51 × 106 kg. Atmospheric deposition (wet + dry) was a significant source of nitrogen to Gilbert Bay, exceeding the dissolved nitrogen load contributed via the Farmington Bay causeway surface-water input by >100,000 kg during 2 years of the study. Closure of two railroad causeway culverts in 2012 and 2013 likely initiated a decreasing trend in the volume of the higher density Deep Brine Layer and associated declines in total dissolved nitrogen mass contained in this layer. The large dissolved nitrogen pool in Gilbert Bay relative to the amount of nitrogen contributed by surface-water inflow sources is consistent with the terminal nature of GSL and the predominance of internal nutrient cycling. The opening of the new railroad causeway breach in 2016 will likely facilitate more efficient bidirectional flow between Gilbert and Gunnison Bays, resulting in potentially substantial changes in nutrient pools within GSL.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Inputs and internal cycling of nitrogen to a causeway influenced, hypersaline lake, Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Series title Aquatic Geochemistry
DOI 10.1007/s10498-017-9318-6
Volume 23
Issue 3
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Utah Water Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 199
Last page 216
Country United States
State Utah
Other Geospatial Great Salt Lake