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Temporal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations with comparisons to conservation practices and agricultural activities in the Lower Grand River, Missouri and Iowa, and selected watersheds, 1969–2015

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5067

Prepared in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
By:
and
https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175067

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Abstract

This report presents the results of a cooperative study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to estimate total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations at monitoring sites within and near the Lower Grand River hydrological unit. The primary objectives of the study were to quantify temporal changes in TN and TP concentrations and compare those concentrations to conservation practices and agricultural activities. Despite increases in funding during 2011–15 for conservation practices in the Lower Grand River from the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, decreases in flow-normalized TN and TP concentrations during this time at the long-term Grand River site were less than at other long-term sites, which did not receive funding from the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative. The relative differences in the magnitude of flow-normalized TN and TP concentrations among long-term sites are directly related to the amount of agricultural land use within the watershed. Significant relations were determined between nitrogen from cattle manure and flow-normalized TN concentrations at selected long-term sites, indicating livestock manure may be a substantial source of nitrogen within the selected long-term site watersheds. Relations between flow-normalized TN and TP concentrations with Conservation Reserve Program acres and with nitrogen and phosphorus from commercial fertilizer indicate that changes in these factors alone did not have a substantial effect on stream TN and TP concentrations; other landscape activities, runoff, within-bank nutrients that are suspended during higher streamflows, or a combination of these have had a greater effect on stream TN and TP concentrations; or there is a lag time that is obscuring relations. Temporal changes in flow-adjusted TN and TP concentrations were not substantial at Lower Grand River Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative sites, indicating factors besides stream variability did not have substantial effects on TN and TP concentrations. Flow-weighted TN and TP concentrations at Lower Grand River Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative sites increase with increasing streamflow, which indicates runoff, within-bank nutrients that are suspended during higher streamflows, or both, have more effect on stream TN and TP concentrations than consistent point sources or groundwater sources. Timing of TN and TP concentration increases compared to streamflow increases indicate that nitrogen and phosphorus loads are more strongly related to streamflow than to a particular period of the year, indicating that runoff, within-bank nutrients that are suspended during higher streamflows, or both are a substantial source of nutrients regardless of timing.

Suggested Citation

Krempa, H.M., and Flickinger, A.K., 2017, Temporal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations with comparisons to conservation practices and agricultural activities in the Lower Grand River, Missouri and Iowa, and selected watersheds, 1969–2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5067, 28 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175067.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Study Methods
  • Temporal Changes of Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus Concentrations With Comparisons to Conservation Practices and Agricultural Activities
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendixes 1–8. Supplemental Data for Selected Sites in Missouri and Iowa

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Temporal changes in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations with comparisons to conservation practices and agricultural activities in the Lower Grand River, Missouri and Iowa, and selected watersheds, 1969–2015
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2017-5067
DOI:
10.3133/sir20175067
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Missouri Water Science Center
Description:
Report: vii, 28 p.; Appendix: 1–8
Country:
United States
State:
Iowa, Missouri
Other Geospatial:
Chariton River, Lower Grand River, Nodaway River
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y