Isotopes are a potentially powerful component of monitoring and assessment programs aimed at quantifying and mitigating alterations to environments from human activities. In particular, isotopic techniques have proved useful for tracing sources and sinks of various pollutants in large river basins, wetlands, and airsheds. Many of these studies have been conducted at the regional to national scale by building on existing large-scale water, air, and ecological monitoring programs managed by federal and state agencies, and demonstrate the usefulness of isotopes as a complement to standard chemical and hydrological mass balance methods. This chapter presents an overview of how nitrate, particulate organic matter, and water isotopes can be used to interpret spatial patterns and temporal changes in pollution sources, biogeochemical processes, and ecosystem function in watersheds, at the regional to national scale. Examples from several recent and ongoing studies are presented. From the insights developed using varied sampling strategies and isoscapes, we suggest guidelines for future studies in biologically active and human-impacted rivers.
Additional publication details
|Publication type||Book chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Title||Applications of stable isotopes for regional to national-scale water quality and environmental monitoring programs|
|Contributing office(s)||National Research Program - Western Branch, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program|
|Larger Work Type||Book|
|Larger Work Title||Isoscapes|