Water 2013, 5(2), 379-393; doi:10.3390/w5020379
Article

Transport and Retention of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in North America’s Largest River Swamp Basin, the Atchafalaya River Basin

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Received: 19 February 2013; in revised form: 18 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 3 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inorganic Pollution of Water Environment)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Floodplains and river corridor wetlands may be effectively managed for reducing nutrients and carbon. However, our understanding is limited to the reduction potential of these natural riverine systems. This study utilized the long-term (1978–2004) river discharge and water quality records from an upriver and a downriver location of the Atchafalaya River to quantify the inflow, outflow, and inflow–outflow mass balance of total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN = organic nitrogen + ammonia nitrogen), nitrate + nitrite nitrogen (NO3 + NO2), total phosphorous (TP), and total organic carbon (TOC) through the largest river swamp basin in North America. The study found that, over the past 27 years, the Atchafalaya River Basin (ARB) acted as a significant sink for TKN (annual retention: 24%), TP (41%), and TOC (12%), but a source for NO3 + NO2 nitrogen (6%). On an annual basis, ARB retained 48,500 t TKN, 16,900 t TP, and 167,100 t TOC from the river water. The retention rates were closely and positively related to the river discharge with highs during the winter and spring and lows in the late summer. The higher NO3 + NO2 mass outflow occurred throughout spring and summer, indicating an active role of biological processes on nitrogen as water and air temperatures in the basin rise.
Keywords: nutrient removal; riverine nutrients; riverine carbon; eutrophication; riverine wetlands; Mississippi-Atchafalaya River system
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MDPI and ACS Style

Xu, Y.J. Transport and Retention of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in North America’s Largest River Swamp Basin, the Atchafalaya River Basin. Water 2013, 5, 379-393.

AMA Style

Xu YJ. Transport and Retention of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in North America’s Largest River Swamp Basin, the Atchafalaya River Basin. Water. 2013; 5(2):379-393.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Xu, Y. J. 2013. "Transport and Retention of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Carbon in North America’s Largest River Swamp Basin, the Atchafalaya River Basin." Water 5, no. 2: 379-393.


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