Journal of Great Lakes Research, Volume 45, Issue 6

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Elsevier BV
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Seasonal nutrient export dynamics in a mixed land use subwatershed of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada
Cameron Irvine | Merrin L. Macrae | Matthew Q. Morison | Richard M. Petrone

Abstract Algal blooms in the Great Lakes are a concern due to excess nutrient loading from non-point sources; however, there is uncertainty over the relative contributions of various non-point sources under different types of land use in rural watersheds, particularly over annual time scales. Four nested subwatersheds in Southern Ontario, Canada (one natural woodlot, two agricultural and one mixed agricultural and urban) were monitored over one year to identify peak periods (‘hot moments’) and areas (‘hot spots’) of nutrient (dissolved reactive phosphorus, DRP; total phosphorus, TP; and nitrate, NO3−) export and discharge. Annual nutrient export was small at the natural site (0.001 kg DRP ha−1; 0.004 kg TP ha−1; 0.04 kg NO3—N ha−1) compared to the agricultural and mixed-use sites (0.10–0.15 kg DRP ha−1; 0.70–0.94 kg TP ha−1; 9.15–11.55 kg NO3—N ha−1). Temporal patterns in P concentrations were similar throughout the sites, where spring was the dominant season for P export, irrespective of land use. Within the Hopewell Creek watershed, P and N hot spots existed that were consistently hot spots across all events with the location of these hot spots driven by local land use patterns, where there was elevated P export from a dairy-dominated sub-watershed and elevated N export from both of the two agricultural sub-watersheds. These estimates of seasonal- and event-based nutrient loads and discharge across nested sub-watersheds contribute to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the importance of identifying critical areas and periods in which to emphasize management efforts.

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Detroit River phosphorus loads: Anatomy of a binational watershed
Donald Scavia | Serghei A. Bocaniov | Awoke Dagnew | Yao Hu | Branko Kerkez | Christopher Long | Rebecca Logsdon Muenich | Jennifer Read | Lynn Vaccaro | Yu Chen Wang

Abstract As a result of increased harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in Lake Erie, the US and Canada revised their phosphorus loading targets under the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The focus of this paper is the Detroit River and its watershed, a source of 25% of the total phosphorus (TP) load to Lake Erie. Its load declined 37% since 1998, due chiefly to improvements at the regional Great Lakes Water Authority Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) in Detroit and phosphorus sequestered by zebra and quagga mussels in Lake Huron. In addition to the 54% of the load from Lake Huron, nonpoint sources contribute 57% of the TP load and 50% of the dissolved reactive phosphorus load, with the remaining balance from point sources. After Lake Huron, the largest source is the WRRF, which has already reduced its load by over 40%. Currently, loads from Lake Huron and further reductions from the WRRF are not part of the reduction strategy, therefore remaining watershed sources will need to decline by 72% to meet the Water Quality Agreement target - a daunting challenge. Because other urban sources are very small, most of the reduction would have to come from agriculturally-dominated lands. The most effective way to reduce those loads is to apply combinations of practices like cover crops, buffer strips, wetlands, and applying fertilizer below the soil surface on the lands with the highest phosphorus losses. However, our simulations suggest even extensive conservation on those lands may not be enough.