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Open AccessArticle

Determining the Impact of Riparian Wetlands on Nutrient Cycling, Storage and Export in Permeable Agricultural Catchments

1
School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1SS, UK
2
British Geological Survey, Maclean Building, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, UK
3
NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG, UK
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Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
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School of Energy, Construction and Environment, Coventry University, Priory Street, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
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College of Science and Engineering, School of the Environment, Flinders University, P.O. Box 2100, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia
7
Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(1), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010167
Received: 22 November 2019 / Revised: 23 December 2019 / Accepted: 25 December 2019 / Published: 6 January 2020
The impact of riparian wetlands on the cycling, retention and export of nutrients from land to water varies according to local environmental conditions and is poorly resolved in catchment management approaches. To determine the role a specific wetland might play in a catchment mitigation strategy, an alternative approach is needed to the high-frequency and spatially detailed monitoring programme that would otherwise be needed. Here, we present a new approach using a combination of novel and well-established geochemical, geophysical and isotope ratio methods. This combined approach was developed and tested against a 2-year high-resolution sampling programme in a lowland permeable wetland in the Lambourn catchment, UK. The monitoring programme identified multiple pathways and water sources feeding into the wetland, generating large spatial and temporal variations in nutrient cycling, retention and export behaviours within the wetland. This complexity of contributing source areas and biogeochemical functions within the wetland were effectively identified using the new toolkit approach. We propose that this technique could be used to determine the likely net source/sink function of riparian wetlands prior to their incorporation into any catchment management plan, with relatively low resource implications when compared to a full high-frequency nutrient speciation and isotope geochemistry-based monitoring approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrogen; phosphorus; nutrient cycling; biogeochemistry; geochemistry; geophysics; wetlands; catchment management nitrogen; phosphorus; nutrient cycling; biogeochemistry; geochemistry; geophysics; wetlands; catchment management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Johnes, P.J.; Gooddy, D.C.; Heaton, T.H.E.; Binley, A.; Kennedy, M.P.; Shand, P.; Prior, H. Determining the Impact of Riparian Wetlands on Nutrient Cycling, Storage and Export in Permeable Agricultural Catchments. Water 2020, 12, 167.

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