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Version 3.22
Publication Type J
Authors Alexander, HD; Dunton, KH
Author Full Name Alexander, HD; Dunton, KH
Title Treated wastewater effluent as an alternative freshwater source in a hypersaline salt marsh: Impacts on salinity, inorganic nitrogen, and emergent vegetation
Language English
Document Type Article
Author Keywords freshwater inflow; Nueces Estuaty; Texas; porewater salinity; Borrichia frutescens; Salicornia virginica
Abstract Reservoir construction and river diversions have dramatically reduced freshwater inflow to coastal salt marshes ofthe Nueces Estuary, Texas, facilitating hypersaline conditions. To moderate salinities and enhance habitat quality, similar to 7570 m(3) d(-1) of treated wastewater effluent was used as a nutrient-rich freshwater source in the lower estuary. For similar to 1.5 years prior to and similar to 3.5 years following wastewater diversion, we quantified salinity, inorganic nitrogen, and emergent vegetation changes at four stations various distances downstream from the diversion point. Wastewater prevented hypersaline conditions at station 72, closest to the diversion, but not downstream. Increased tidal creek NH4+ and NO3- + NO2- concentrations were detectable 1200 in downstream, but concentrations were 50%-80% of those measured at station 72 within 325 in downstream. Emergent vegetation responded at station 72 only. Composition rapidly shifted (over a period of <= 1 y) from similar to 80% monospecific cover of a highly salt-tolerant succulent, Salicornia virginica, to similar to 50% cover of a less salt-tolerant shrub, Borrichia frutescens, (.)intermixed with several other species. Percent cover ordination plots on each sampling date verified distinct pre- and postdiversion plant communities at this station. Mean porewater nutrient concentrations were not different among stations postdiversion, but lower C: N ratios and increased delta N-15 signatures of B. frutescens confirmed assimilation of wastewater-derived nitrogen at station 72. A variety of plants colonized bare areas near the diversion, creating about seven hectares of newly vegetated salt marsh. Wastewater diversions lowered salinity, increased nutrients, and increased cover of less salt-tolerant vegetation species near the diversion. However, these changes were restricted to a limited area, suggesting that increased diversions are necessary to produce substantial downstream effects.
Author Address Univ Texas, Inst Marine Sci, Port Aransas, TX 78373 USA
Reprint Address Alexander, HD (reprint author), Univ Kentucky, Dept Forestry, TP Cooper Bldg, Lexington, KY 40546 USA.
E-mail Address heather.alexander@uky.edu
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Cited Reference Count 56
Times Cited 10
Total Times Cited Count (WoS, BCI, and CSCD) 10
Publisher City LAWRENCE
Publisher Address 810 EAST 10TH STREET, LAWRENCE, KS 66044 USA
ISSN 0749-0208
29-Character Source Abbreviation J COASTAL RES
ISO Source Abbreviation J. Coast. Res.
Publication Date MAR
Year Published 2006
Volume 22
Issue 2
Beginning Page 377
Ending Page 392
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) 10.2112/04-0234.1
Page Count 16
Web of Science Category Environmental Sciences; Geography, Physical; Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
Subject Category Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Physical Geography; Geology
Document Delivery Number 026KW
Unique Article Identifier WOS:000236338800012
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