Impact of flow pathway and source water connectivity on subsurface sediment and particulate phosphorus dynamics in tile-drained agroecosystems

Saeid Nazari, William I. Ford, Kevin W. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Subsurface tile drainage is recognized as a significant source of sediment and particulate phosphorus (PP) in the midwestern U.S. However, the role of subsurface flow pathway and source water connectivity dynamics on sediment transport is poorly understood. The overarching objective of this study was to investigate sediment and PP loading dynamics for a midwestern subsurface tile drained agroecosystem and assess the governing flow pathway and water sources impacting subsurface sediment loads. In this study, we used a recently-developed framework that couples event-based hydrograph recession and specific conductance-end-member mixing analysis (SC-EMMA) to assess governing drivers of sediment transport through tile. We collected high-frequency specific conductance, turbidity, and subsurface discharge data from an edge-of-field (EOF) tile main located in northwestern Ohio for 15 months. Multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis and hysteresis analysis were employed to evaluate the impact of pathway-connectivity dynamics on flow-weighted mean Total Suspended Solids (TSS) concentrations. The MLR analysis showed that quickflow of new water (Qquick-new) had the highest flow-weighted mean sediment concentrations, and that concentrations associated with quickflow of old water (i.e., matrix-macropore exchange) were variable. Analysis using the hysteresis index (HI) showed that hysteresis characteristics (magnitude and direction) for separated hydrographs using the pathway-connectivity framework deviated from HI values of subsurface discharge (Qtile) and highlighted the importance of Qquick-new through much of the monitoring period. For events immediately following tillage and cover crop application in Fall 2019, we found Qquick-old was the primary form of preferential flow, peak sediment concentrations coincided with Qquick-old, and event sediment loadings during these events decreased relative to the previous fall. The findings suggest that reducing preferential transport of new water may be an effective strategy for reducing sediment and particulate P loadings at the edge-of-field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107641
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Volume269
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the landowners of the study sites who provided access to the field and management data; Jedediah Stinner, Katie Rumora, Marie Pollock, Phil Levison, Sara Henderson and Christian Bower for help in data collection and site maintenance; and Eric Fischer, Katie Emmett and Whitney Phelps for laboratory analysis of water samples. Current funding for the USDA-ARS edge-of-field research network is in part through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The authors thank the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering department for partial support of the graduate student and corresponding author. This work was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Hatch project S-1089 .

Funding Information:
The authors thank the landowners of the study sites who provided access to the field and management data; Jedediah Stinner, Katie Rumora, Marie Pollock, Phil Levison, Sara Henderson and Christian Bower for help in data collection and site maintenance; and Eric Fischer, Katie Emmett and Whitney Phelps for laboratory analysis of water samples. Current funding for the USDA-ARS edge-of-field research network is in part through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). The authors thank the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering department for partial support of the graduate student and corresponding author. This work was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Hatch project S-1089.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Hysteresis analysis
  • Phosphorus
  • Subsurface
  • Tile-drainage
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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