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Open AccessArticle

A Case Study of the Effects of Management Interventions on the Phosphorus Dynamics at a Coastal, Eutrophic, Caribbean lagoon (Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico)

1
Public Health Program, Ponce Health Sciences University, Ponce, PR 00732-7004, USA
2
School of Science and Technology, Universidad Ana G Méndez, Gurabo, PR 00778-3030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Miguel Ortega-Sánchez, Díez-Minguito Manuel and López-Ruiz Alejandro
Water 2021, 13(4), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040449
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 3 February 2021 / Accepted: 4 February 2021 / Published: 9 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dynamics and Biogeochemical Flows in Estuarine and Nearshore Systems)
Laguna Cartagena is a coastal, eutrophic, shallow lake and freshwater wetland in southwestern Puerto Rico, managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This ecosystem has been impacted by phosphorus loading from adjacent agricultural areas since the 1950s, causing eutrophication and deteriorating wildlife habitats. Herein, we describe phosphorus input and export during September 2010–September 2011 (Phase One) and October 2013–November 2014 (Phase Two). These two phases bracket a period of intensified management interventions including excavation and removal of sediment and vegetation, draining, and burning during the summers of 2012 and 2013. Results indicate that Laguna Cartagena retains a phosphorus (sink) in its sediments, and exhibits nutrient-releasing events (source, mainly total phosphorus) to the lagoon water column, which are associated with rainfall and rising water levels. External factors including water level fluctuations and rainfall influenced phosphorus export during Phase One, but after management interventions (Phase Two), internal processes influenced sink/source dynamics, releasing elevated phosphorus concentrations to the water column. When exposed sediments were re-flooded, phosphorus concentrations to the water column increased, releasing elevated P concentrations downstream to an estuarine wetlands area and the Caribbean Sea. Herein we offer management recommendations to optimize wildlife habitat without elevating phosphorus concentrations. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetland; internal eutrophication; phosphorus source and sink; soluble reactive phosphorus; total phosphorus wetland; internal eutrophication; phosphorus source and sink; soluble reactive phosphorus; total phosphorus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sánchez Colón, Y.M.; Schaffner, F.C. A Case Study of the Effects of Management Interventions on the Phosphorus Dynamics at a Coastal, Eutrophic, Caribbean lagoon (Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico). Water 2021, 13, 449. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040449

AMA Style

Sánchez Colón YM, Schaffner FC. A Case Study of the Effects of Management Interventions on the Phosphorus Dynamics at a Coastal, Eutrophic, Caribbean lagoon (Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico). Water. 2021; 13(4):449. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040449

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sánchez Colón, Yashira M.; Schaffner, Fred C. 2021. "A Case Study of the Effects of Management Interventions on the Phosphorus Dynamics at a Coastal, Eutrophic, Caribbean lagoon (Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico)" Water 13, no. 4: 449. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13040449

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