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Article

Phosphorus Transport in the Mississippi Delta: Associations to Surface and Groundwater Interactions

by
Biology Department, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR 72467, USA
Retired from U.S. Geological Survey.
Academic Editors: Andreas Panagopoulos and Vassilios Pisinaras
Water 2022, 14(18), 2925; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182925
Received: 5 August 2022 / Revised: 10 September 2022 / Accepted: 12 September 2022 / Published: 18 September 2022
Groundwater (GW) in the Mississippi Delta has some of the highest phosphorus (P) concentrations measured in the U.S. Chemical data collected from GW and surface water (SW) sites were compared to understand factors affecting P concentrations. Spatial instability in Delta GWs indicates that P sources vary. High P measurements in shallow wells near rivers, in shallow nested wells compared to deeper nested wells, and P fluctuations in wells over time suggest that the land surface may be a greater source of P in shallow groundwater than natural geological deposits. Widespread reducing conditions in shallow GW, long-term P applications to the land surface, and shallow wells being proximal to streams are possible covarying explanatory variables. Potential SW to GW pathways of P include leaching and preferential flow paths; however, GW interactions with SW via irrigation, although unnatural, can result in P deposition on soils and later transport to SW or GW. GW tracer data indicate that irrigation return flows can exceed natural baseflow discharge to some streams in late summer. Studies are needed to confirm the degree that P is mobilized from soils and bed sediment to shallow GW and to determine how declines in GW levels resulting from irrigation affect ecological services in SW. View Full-Text
Keywords: phosphorus; reduced conditions; preferential flow paths; leaching; well depth; iron; groundwater; surface water; turbidity phosphorus; reduced conditions; preferential flow paths; leaching; well depth; iron; groundwater; surface water; turbidity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Justus, B. Phosphorus Transport in the Mississippi Delta: Associations to Surface and Groundwater Interactions. Water 2022, 14, 2925. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182925

AMA Style

Justus B. Phosphorus Transport in the Mississippi Delta: Associations to Surface and Groundwater Interactions. Water. 2022; 14(18):2925. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182925

Chicago/Turabian Style

Justus, Billy. 2022. "Phosphorus Transport in the Mississippi Delta: Associations to Surface and Groundwater Interactions" Water 14, no. 18: 2925. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182925

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