Science Inventory

Effects of urban stream burial on organic matter dynamics and reach scale nitrate retention - final

Citation:

BEAULIEU, J., P. MAYER, S. S. Kaushal, M. J. Pennino, C. P. Arango, D. A. Balz, T. J. CANFIELD, C. M. ELONEN, K. M. FRITZ, B. H. Hill, H. RYU, AND J. W. SANTO-DOMINGO. Effects of urban stream burial on organic matter dynamics and reach scale nitrate retention - final. BIOGEOCHEMISTRY. Springer, New York, NY, 121(1):107-126, (2014).

Impact/Purpose:

Nitrogen (N) retention in streams is an important ecosystem service that may be affected by the widespread burial of streams in stormwater pipes in urban watersheds.

Description:

Nitrogen (N) retention in streams is an important ecosystem service that may be affected by the widespread burial of streams in stormwater pipes in urban watersheds. We predicted that stream burial suppresses the capacity of streams to retain nitrate (NO3 −) by eliminating primary production, reducing respiration rates and organic matter availability, and increasing specific discharge. We tested these predictions by measuring whole-stream NO3 − removal rates using 15NO3 − isotope tracer releases in paired buried and open reaches in three streams in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) during four seasons. Nitrate uptake lengths were 29 times greater in buried than open reaches, indicating that buried reaches were less effective at retaining NO3 − than open reaches. Burial suppressed NO3 − retention through a combination of hydrological and biological processes. The channel shape of two of the buried reaches increased specific discharge which enhanced NO3 − transport from the channel, highlighting the relationship between urban infrastructure and ecosystem function. Uptake lengths in the buried reaches were further lengthened by low stream biological NO3 − demand, as indicated by NO3 − uptake velocities 17-fold lower than that of the open reaches. We also observed differences in the periphyton enzyme activity between reaches, indicating that the effects of burial cascade from the microbial to the ecosystem scale. Our results suggest that stream restoration practices involving “daylighting” buried streams have the potential to increase N retention. Further work is needed to elucidate the impacts of stream burial on ecosystem functions at the larger stream network scale.

URLs/Downloads:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10533-014-9971-4   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 10/01/2014
Record Last Revised: 01/10/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 299450

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION

ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS BRANCH