A new landscape based approach to optimize riparian zone nitrogen and phosphorus management in glaciated settings. With Dr. A. Gold (URI), R. Lowrance (EPA), K. Addy, and C. Beier. Funding: USDA-AFRI – Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycling Program. Riparian zones are widely used best management practices to mitigate the impact of agriculture on water quality with respect to nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). However, their intense biogeochemistry also affects groundwater P concentration, and N2O emission. Few studies nevertheless integrate N, P, and N2O data across a range of landscape conditions to help understand the role of riparian zones with respect to NO3- and PO43- fluxes and N2O efflux. For this project, we will develop a geospatial database of riparian zone attributes in relation to N removal, P losses to streams, and N2O emission using original data from 36 riparian sites in agricultural areas of the US Midwest and US Northeast where riparian zones are commonly used as best management practices. We will use multivariate statistical approaches to reduce data dimensionality, and build statistical models to predict riparian function. We will also improve the usability of the commonly used Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) by developing default model parameters for dominant riparian geomorphic types in these regions. We will then assess the accuracy of our model predictions at new sites using short field campaigns and compare REMM simulation results to our statistical models results, including during low and high precipitation periods as those are forecasted to become more common. This work will benefit academics, local, state, and federal agencies involved in riparian ecosystem management and increase our fundamental understanding of the role riparian zones in N and P cycling in agroecosystems of the US and beyond. (Program Area #A1401).
Impact of agricultural stream restoration on riparian hydrology and biogeochemistry. With Dr. Sara McMillan (UNCC). Funding: USDA-AFRI – Processes and Transformation in Soil, Water and Air Program. The primary objective of this research is to understand and predict the impact of river restoration in agroecosystems on surface water-groundwater (SW-GW) interactions and biogeochemical processes in the near-stream zone (hyporheic and riparian zones). Restoration approaches that aim to improve water quality by enhancing retention time and promoting reducing conditions may increase nitrogen removal via denitrification, but be achieved at the expense of phosphorus desorption and emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) (N2O, CO2, CH4). Through this project, we will test the hypotheses that (1) restored streams will have elevated water tables and prolonged, more extensive areas of reducing conditions compared to unrestored, (2) instream channel complexity will lead to higher denitrification rates, higher phosphorus concentrations in pore water via desorption, and increases in N2O and CH4 fluxes in restored compared to unrestored reaches, and (3) restoration approaches closely aligned with reference channel geomorphology will have greater SW-GW interactions and biogeochemical transformations. Well/piezometer transects will be established at representative cross sections in the streambed and riparian areas in restored, unrestored and reference reaches to allow for calculation of water and solute fluxes. Water levels in the near-stream zone will be measured in real-time; solute and GHG fluxes will be measured on a biweekly to monthly basis. Results from this research will potentially transform the way we assess the success of stream restoration projects and will help design better stream restoration strategies that include hyporheic and riparian zone function as one of the design criteria driving future restoration projects in agroecosystems.
Impact of commercial shrub willow biomass crop production in New York State on water related ecosystem services. With Dr. Tim Volk. Funding: USDA-NIFA – McIntire-Stennis Formula Grant. The development of sustainably produced biomass as a feedstock for biofuels, bioproducts, and bioenergy is a critical national priority. In the US Northeast, willow shrub (Salix spp.) has been identified as a potential perennial energy crop, and its commercialization has been recently accelerated in this region via a USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). However, little is known about the impact of commercial scale applications of willow biomass crop production on water quantity, water quality, and water related ecosystem processes. The overall goal of this project is therefore to determine how the commercial production of willow shrubs affects water quantity (water table depth, soil moisture, overland flow volume), water quality (NO3-, NH4+, PO43-), and key water related ecosystem processes (erosion/sedimentation, and CO2, N2O, and CH4 fluxes at the soil atmosphere interface). Using 2 reference sites (1 corn, 1 hay) and 4 willow fields of various ages (establishment, one one-year old site, one three-year old site nearing the end of the first rotation, and a 6 year-old site in the middle of the second rotation), we will determine the impact of willow biomass crops on key water related ecosystem processes over time via a partial space for time substitution for the equivalent of 8 production years (2 years x 4 sites of various ages = 8 years of production). This is an important aspect of this research because as above and belowground willow dynamics change over time, soil nutrient levels, and willow nutrient and water demand will vary with stand age.
The integrated water-system of the Great Lakes Region: Its conditions and challenges for the future (10/14-09/15) with J. Wang, H. Bokuniewicz, T. Walter, G. Boyer, T. Endreny, L. Quackenbush, C. Beier, C. Fergusson. Funding: SUNY 4E - Energy, Environment, Economics, and Education Program.
Greenhouse gas production as pollution trade-offs in New York wetlands and source water streams (03/13-02/14). Funding: USGS - New York State Water Resources in partnership with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation – Hudson River Estuary Program (NYDEC-HREP)
Determination of climatic and geomorphological drivers of greenhouse gas emissions in forested landscapes of the US Northeast (09/12-09/14), with Dr. Myron Mitchell and Dr. Colin Beier (SUNY-ESF). Funding: USDA-NIFA – McIntire-Stennis Formula Grant.
Pollution trade-offs associated with the use of riparian zones as best management practices (03/12-02/13). Funding: USGS - New York State Water Resources Institute
Nitrogen (N) availability as driver of methylmercury production in forested soils and stream sediments (03/11-02/13), with M. Mitchell (SUNY-ESF). Funding: USGS - New York State Water Resources Institute. Graduate Student: Whitney Carleton
Greenhouse gas emissions from riparian zones across a regional hydrogeomorphic gradient. (05/09-04/12), with P. Jacinthe (IUPUI) & M.E. Baker (UMBC). Funding: UDSA-CSREES – Air Quality Program Award #2009-35112-05241.
Riparian zones as best management practices: a double edge sword for environmental quality (05/11-04/12). Funding: SUNY-ESF Research Foundation Seed Grant Program.
Geomorphic and hydrological controls on greenhouse (GHG) gas emissions in forested watersheds of the Northeast (10/10 - present). Funding: SUNY-ESF Research Foundation. Graduate Student: Jordan Gross.
Landscape controls on the fate and transport of multiple contaminants in riparian zones of the Northeast (10/10 - present). Funding: SUNY-ESF Research Foundation. Graduate Student: Pat Rook.
Landscape controls on riparian zone function vis-à-vis multiple contaminants and associated pollution trade-offs. (3/10 - 3/11), with C. Mitchell of the University of Toronto, Canada. Funding: Indiana Water Resources Research Center (IWRRC) (USGS 104B grant); IUPUI Research Support Funds Grant; Indiana Academy of Science.
Nutrient and carbon delivery to streams in artificially drained landscapes of the Midwest: matrix flow, overland flow or macropore flow? (04/08-04/11), with J.W. Frey & N. T. Baker (USGS). Funding: USGS-NIWR National Competitive Grant Program Award #08HQGR0052.
Hydrological controls on nitrate and carbon delivery to streams in artificially drained landscapes of the Midwest (03/08-02/10). Funding: Indiana Water Resources Research Center (USGS 104B grant # 06HQGR0084).
Generalizing Riparian Zone Function at the Landscape Scale: New Tools, New Approaches, Gaps in Knowledge and Future Research Directions (09/01/07 – 08/31/08), with C. Allan (UNCC). Funding: National Science Foundation, Hydrological Sciences Program Award # EAR-0741781.
Mitigation of contaminants in rural and semi-rural environments to protect drinking water reservoirs (AQUISAFE 2007) (07/07-12/08), with L.P. Tedesco & P.E. Jacinthe (IUPUI). Funding: Veolia Water.
Contaminant Transport Dynamics during storms in medium to large river systems of the Midwest (03/07-03/08), with L.P. Tedesco (IUPUI). Funding: Central Indiana Water Resources Partnership.
Nutrient specific flow paths during spring and summer storm events in Eagle Creek Watershed (04/06-04/07). Funding: Central Indiana Water Resources Partnership & Veolia Water Indianapolis.
Eagle Creek Watershed Alliance: Phase 1 Watershed BMP Implementation, Education and Public Outreach grant (09/05-07/08), with L.P. Tedesco (IUPUI). Funding: Environmental Protection Agency. Clean Water Act Section 319, Non-point source pollution management program.
Nutrient and sediment stream budgets of streams under the influence of agricultural, urbanized and in transition areas in Eagle Creek watershed, Indiana (03/05-03/06). Funding: Central Indiana Water Resources Partnership. Veolia Water Indianapolis.