Monthly suspended-sediment apportionment for a western Lake Erie agricultural tributary

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 



Black Creek, a headwater to the Maumee River and western Lake Erie, is an agricultural basin with a mix of cropland (66%), pasture (19%), and forest (7%) linked by a road network to the rural community. Suspended sediment was collected monthly during the 2018 water year for the main stem and two sub-basins using in-situ, passive samplers that integrated a range of streamflow conditions. Sediment fingerprinting used 44 indicators to apportion samples among five sources: cropland, pasture, forest, road dirt, and streambanks. Cropland, pasture, and streambanks had similar ranges in sediment-bound phosphorus (679-1670 ppm). Cropland contributed 21 ± 15% (monthly mean ± standard deviation; 0-46% among individual months) of suspended sediment during the year. Fall and spring peaks in cropland contribution highlight the ongoing importance of on-field management, but this small contribution of suspended sediment relative to the expanse of cropland may reflect implementation of best-management practices. Pasture contributed 0-66% (16±19%) of suspended-sediment and roads 0-26% (6±6%). Streambanks contributed 12-100% (55±25%) and was the only source identified in all sediment samples. In this basin, most cropland-adjacent streambanks are protected by a riparian setback. However, streams traversing other land-use types are not as consistently protected, and these setbacks do not protect the stream channel from discharge of water from sump pumps, road culverts, or tile drains. The contribution of sediment from other land uses combined with that from the agricultural drainage network (as streambank material) underscores the need to consider water movement in the basin as a whole.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Monthly suspended-sediment apportionment for a western Lake Erie agricultural tributary
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2020.06.011
Volume 46
Issue 5
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Maryland Water Science Center, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 1307
Last page 1320
Country United States
State Indiana
Other Geospatial Black Creek basin
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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