Sources and ages of fine-grained sediment to streams using fallout radionuclides in the Midwestern United States

Journal of Environmental Management
By: , and 



Fallout radionuclides, 7Be and 210Pbex, sampled in bed sediment for 99 watersheds in the Midwestern region of the United States and in 15 samples of suspended sediment from 3 of these watersheds were used to partition upland from channel sources and to estimate the age or the time since the surface-derived portion of sediment was on the land surface (0–∼1 year). Channel sources dominate: 78 of the 99 bed material sites (79%) have >50% channel-derived sediment, and 9 of the 15 suspended-sediment samples (60%) have >50% channel-derived sediment. 7Be was detected in 82 bed sediment samples and all 15 suspended-sediment samples. The surface-derived portion of 54 of the 80 (68%) streams with detectable 7Be and 210Pbex were ≤ 100 days old and the surface-derived portion of all suspended-sediment samples were ≤ 100 days old, indicating that surface-derived fine-grained sediment moves rapidly though these systems. The concentrations of two hydrophobic pesticides–DDE and bifenthrin–are correlated with the proportion of surface-derived sediment, indicating a link between geomorphic processes and particle-associated contaminants in streams. Urban areas had the highest pesticide concentrations and the largest percentage of surface-derived sediment. Although the percentage of surface-derived sediment is less than channel sources at most of the study sites, the relatively young age of the surface-derived sediment might indicate that management actions to reduce sediment contamination where the land surface is an important source could have noticeable effects.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sources and ages of fine-grained sediment to streams using fallout radionuclides in the Midwestern United States
Series title Journal of Environmental Management
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.06.018
Volume 194
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Maryland Water Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 73
Last page 85
Country United States
State Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin
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