Streamflow distribution of non-point source nitrogen export from urban-rural catchments in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Shields, C. A., Band, L. E., Law, N. L., Groffman, P., Kaushal, S. S., Savvas, K., Fisher, G. T., & Belt, K. T. Water Resources Research, 2008.
abstract   bibtex   
Nitrogen (N) export from urban and urbanizing watersheds is a major contributor to water quality degradation and eutrophication of receiving water bodies. Methods to reduce N exports using best management practices (BMP) have targeted both source reduction and hydrologic flow path retention. Stream restoration is a BMP targeted to multiple purposes but includes increasing flow path retention to improve water quality. As restorations are typically most effective at lower discharge rates with longer residence times, distribution of N load by stream discharge is a significant influence on catchment nitrogen retention. We explore impacts of urbanization on magnitude and export flow distribution of nitrogen along an urban-rural gradient in a set of catchments studied by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES). We test the hypotheses that N export magnitude increases and cumulative N export shifts to higher, less frequent discharge with catchment urbanization. We find that increasing development in watersheds is associated with shifts in nitrogen export toward higher discharge, while total magnitude of export does not show as strong a trend. Forested reference, low-density suburban, and agricultural catchments export most of the total nitrogen (TN) and nitrate (NO3 −) loads at relatively low flows. More urbanized sites export TN and NO3 − at higher and less frequent flows. The greatest annual loads of nitrogen are from less developed agricultural and low-density residential (suburban/exurban) areas; the latter is the most rapidly growing land use in expanding metropolitan areas. A simple statistical model relating export distribution metrics to impervious surface area is then used to extrapolate parameters of the N export distribution across the Gwynns Falls watershed in Baltimore County. This spatial extrapolation has potential applications as a tool for predictive mapping of variations in export distribution and targeting stream channel restoration efforts at the watershed scale.
@article{shields_streamflow_2008,
	title = {Streamflow distribution of non-point source nitrogen export from urban-rural catchments in the {Chesapeake} {Bay} watershed},
	volume = {44},
	abstract = {Nitrogen (N) export from urban and urbanizing watersheds is a major contributor to water quality degradation and eutrophication of receiving water bodies. Methods to reduce N exports using best management practices (BMP) have targeted both source reduction and hydrologic flow path retention. Stream restoration is a BMP targeted to multiple purposes but includes increasing flow path retention to improve water quality. As restorations are typically most effective at lower discharge rates with longer residence times, distribution of N load by stream discharge is a significant influence on catchment nitrogen retention. We explore impacts of urbanization on magnitude and export flow distribution of nitrogen along an urban-rural gradient in a set of catchments studied by the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES). We test the hypotheses that N export magnitude increases and cumulative N export shifts to higher, less frequent discharge with catchment urbanization. We find that increasing development in watersheds is associated with shifts in nitrogen export toward higher discharge, while total magnitude of export does not show as strong a trend. Forested reference, low-density suburban, and agricultural catchments export most of the total nitrogen (TN) and nitrate (NO3 −) loads at relatively low flows. More urbanized sites export TN and NO3 − at higher and less frequent flows. The greatest annual loads of nitrogen are from less developed agricultural and low-density residential (suburban/exurban) areas; the latter is the most rapidly growing land use in expanding metropolitan areas. A simple statistical model relating export distribution metrics to impervious surface area is then used to extrapolate parameters of the N export distribution across the Gwynns Falls watershed in Baltimore County. This spatial extrapolation has potential applications as a tool for predictive mapping of variations in export distribution and targeting stream channel restoration efforts at the watershed scale.},
	number = {W09416},
	journal = {Water Resources Research},
	author = {Shields, C. A. and Band, L. E. and Law, N. L. and Groffman, P.M. and Kaushal, S. S. and Savvas, K. and Fisher, G. T. and Belt, K. T.},
	year = {2008},
	keywords = {nitrogen, BES, land use, urban, soil, plant, carbon, dynamics, watershed, forest, chesapeake, urban-rural}
}

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