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Boreal peat extraction affects riverine export and processing of organic carbon and nutrients in contrasting wet and dry years


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Created: Aug 29, 2022 at 7:55 p.m.
Last updated: Aug 29, 2022 at 9:19 p.m.
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Abstract

Land use and hydrology influence the transport and attenuation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nutrients through river networks, affecting aquatic food webs, habitat, and water quality. Here, we studied how horticultural peat extraction affects DOC and nutrient dynamics in western Canada. During two contrasting hydrological years, we sampled >50 subcatchments and analyzed DOC and nutrient concentrations, dissolved organic matter (DOM) chemical composition, solute export, and relative downstream losses in the stream network. We found that headwaters with substantial peat extraction had twice the DOC concentration and 8-fold the dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentration (primarily NH4+) compared to headwaters with intact peatlands. Peat extraction sites were point sources of DOC and DIN across the landscape, even in catchments with substantial agricultural activity. Conversely, DOM chemical composition differed by hydrological status rather than land use, with lower aromaticity in the dry year driven by a combination of deeper flowpaths and greater in-stream processing. Neither land use nor hydrology appeared to influence PO43- concentration, which was relatively high across the study region due to geology. Downstream attenuation of DOC and inorganic nutrients varied by solute and was modulated by stream discharge. The most rapid attenuation was found for PO43- and DIN, while DOC acted largely conservative. Attenuation of all solutes except PO43- was much greater in the dry than wet year. These results suggest that DOC from extracted peatlands will persist further downstream than DIN, and that climate-induced changes in hydrology will affect DOM composition and inorganic nutrient processing. Our study shows that peat extraction can influence DOC and nutrient dynamics even in watersheds with predominantly agricultural land use, and that mitigation options should be explored to improve water quality.

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Coverage

Spatial

Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
North Latitude
53.5578°
East Longitude
-114.6627°
South Latitude
53.3321°
West Longitude
-115.1214°

Temporal

Start Date:
End Date:

Content

README.txt

#### READ ME ####
Meta data for Frei et al. Seba Synoptic
Questions can be sent to rfrei@ualberta.ca.


site_id = Site code created by researchers
month = month of sample collection
year = year of sample collection
date = date of sample collection 'MM/DD/YYYY'
stream_flow = binary 'Y / N' indicating if stream was flowing at time of sampling.
time = time of sampling 'HH:MM:SS'
catchment = larger catchment that site is nested within 'Deep Creek / Tomahawk Creek'
lat = latitude of sample location WGS84
long = longitude of sample location WGS84
type = type of subcatchment 'Agriculture / Disturbed Peatland / Pristine Peatland / Forest / Mix'
area = subcatchment area (km2) based on catchment delineation using data from Government of Alberta Open Data 25 m digital elevation model.
disturbed_peat = percent subcatchment cover that is extracted peatlands (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Wetlands Inventory.
wetland = percent subcatchment cover that is pristine peatlands (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Wetlands Inventory.
forest = percent subcatchment cover that is forest (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
settlement = percent subcatchment cover that is human settlement (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
roads = percent subcatchment cover that is roads (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
water = percent subcatchment cover that is surface water (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
cropland = percent subcatchment cover that is cropland (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
other = percent subcatchment cover that is other land use (%), data from Alberta Monitoring and Inventory Human Footprint Index.
colluvial_deposits = percent of subcatchment that has colluvial deposists surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta. 
glaciolacustrine_deposits = percent of subcatchment that has glaciolacustrine deposits surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta.
icethrust_moraine = percent of subcatchment that has icethrust moraine surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta.
moraine = percent of subcatchment that has moraine surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta.
organic_deposits = percent of subcatchment that has organic deposits surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta.
preglacial_fluvial_deposits = percent of subcatchment that has preglacial fluvial deposits surficial geology (%), data from Government of Alberta Open Data Surficial Geology of Alberta.
fire_burned = percent of subcatchment that has been burned (%), data from Parkland County.
fire_presence = binary 'Y / N' indication if subcatchment was burned at all.
ph = pH measured in situ by a calibrated handheld multiparameter probe (Hanna)
cond = conductivity (uS) measured in situ by a calibrated handheld multiparameter probe (Hanna)
temp = temperature (C) measured in situ by a calibrated handheld multiparameter probe (Hanna)
turb = turbidity (NTU)
doc = dissolved organic carbon (mg/L)
suva = specific ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (L/mg-m)
din = dissolved inorganic nitrogen (mg/L)
dop = dissolved organic phosphorous (mg/L)
no3no2 = nitrate + nitrite (mg/L)
tn = total nitrogen (mg/L)
nh4n = N as ammonium (mg/L)
cl = chloride (mg/L)
no2n = N as nitrite (mg/L)
po4 = phosphate (mg/L)
so4 = sulfate (mg/L)
don = dissolved organic nitrogen (mg/L)
no3n = N as nitrate (mg/L)
sodium = sodium (mg/L)
k = potassium (mg/L)
mg = magnesium (mg/L)
zn = zinc (mg/L)
tp = total phosphorous (mg/L)
s = sulfur (mg/L)
ca = calcium (mg/L)
cu = copper (mg/L)
boron = boron (mg/L)
fe = total iron (mg/L)
mn = manganese (mg/L)
al = aluminum (mg/L)
X200 = absorbance at 200 nm
X201 = absorbance at 201 nm
...
X750 = absorbance at 750 nm



Credits

Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
NSERC NSERC CRDPJ 525894-18

How to Cite

Frei, R. (2022). Boreal peat extraction affects riverine export and processing of organic carbon and nutrients in contrasting wet and dry years, HydroShare, http://www.hydroshare.org/resource/790fa65aebc24e4c98f2ee5a82cd3d7e

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
CC-BY

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