JCSET | Watershed Studies Institute Research Symposium

Title

Restored Wetlands of West Kentucky and Nitrogen Sequestering Potential

Presenter Information

Tyler BefusFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Watershed Science/Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Michael Flinn, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Wetlands can help prevent nitrogen-rich runoff from reaching the Gulf of Mexico. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has been restoring wetlands as part of the Wetlands Restoration Program and has been active in western Kentucky. To determine the effectiveness of these restorations, we are collecting monthly grab samples at our four primary riparian sites to track seasonal variations in nitrate concentrations in the wetlands and adjacent streams. We also use ISCO automatic water samplers to capture discrete water samples during flooding events to determine inflow and outflow nitrate concentrations. In addition, we are quantifying hydrology and collecting physiochemical data to help understand factors that influence nutrient concentration variation. Preliminary results show nitrate concentrations increase 100-200% between upstream and further downstream sites as well as elevated concentrations during the colder, winter months. Within the wetlands, nitrate levels generally decrease as flood water passes through them by 35-40% on average. Understanding nitrogen dynamics in these sites will help direct future restoration efforts focused on nutrient reduction.

Spring Scholars Week 2021 Event

Watershed Studies Institute Symposium

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Restored Wetlands of West Kentucky and Nitrogen Sequestering Potential

Wetlands can help prevent nitrogen-rich runoff from reaching the Gulf of Mexico. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has been restoring wetlands as part of the Wetlands Restoration Program and has been active in western Kentucky. To determine the effectiveness of these restorations, we are collecting monthly grab samples at our four primary riparian sites to track seasonal variations in nitrate concentrations in the wetlands and adjacent streams. We also use ISCO automatic water samplers to capture discrete water samples during flooding events to determine inflow and outflow nitrate concentrations. In addition, we are quantifying hydrology and collecting physiochemical data to help understand factors that influence nutrient concentration variation. Preliminary results show nitrate concentrations increase 100-200% between upstream and further downstream sites as well as elevated concentrations during the colder, winter months. Within the wetlands, nitrate levels generally decrease as flood water passes through them by 35-40% on average. Understanding nitrogen dynamics in these sites will help direct future restoration efforts focused on nutrient reduction.