Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Anthropogenic and Climate-Exacerbated Landscape Disturbances Converge to Alter Phosphorus Bioavailability in an Oligotrophic River

Version 1 : Received: 6 October 2021 / Approved: 8 October 2021 / Online: 8 October 2021 (08:07:28 CEST)

How to cite: Watt, C.; Emelko, M.B.; Silins, U.; Collins, A.L.; Stone, M. Anthropogenic and Climate-Exacerbated Landscape Disturbances Converge to Alter Phosphorus Bioavailability in an Oligotrophic River. Preprints 2021, 2021100126 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0126.v1). Watt, C.; Emelko, M.B.; Silins, U.; Collins, A.L.; Stone, M. Anthropogenic and Climate-Exacerbated Landscape Disturbances Converge to Alter Phosphorus Bioavailability in an Oligotrophic River. Preprints 2021, 2021100126 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0126.v1).

Abstract

Cumulative effects of landscape disturbance in forested source water regions can alter the storage of fine sediment and associated phosphorus in riverbeds, shift nutrient dynamics and degrade water quality. Here, we examine longitudinal changes in major element chemistry and particulate phosphorus (PP) fractions of river-bed sediment in an oligotrophic river during environmentally sensitive low flow conditions. Study sites along 50 km of the Crowsnest River were located below tributary inflows from sub-watersheds and represent a gradient of increasing cumulative sedi-ment pressures across a range of land disturbance types (harvesting, wildfire, and municipal wastewater discharges). Major elements (Si2O, Al2O3, Fe2O3, MnO, CaO, MgO, Na2O, K2O, Ti2O, V2O5, P2O5), loss on ignition (LOI), PP fractions (NH4CI-RP, BD-RP, NaOH-RP, HCI-RP and NaOH(85)-RP) and absolute particle size were evaluated for sediments collected in 2016 and 2017. While total PP concentrations were similar across all sites, bioavailable PP fractions (BD-RP, NaOH-RP) increased downstream with increased concentrations of Al2O3 and MnO and levels of landscape disturbance. This study highlights the longitudinal water quality impacts of increasing landscape disturbance on bioavailable PP in fine riverbed sediments and shows how the convergence of climate (wildfire) and anthropogenic (sewage effluent, harvesting, agriculture) drivers can produce legacy effects on nutrients.

Keywords

Cumulative effects; fine sediment; particulate phosphorus; sediment geochemistry; gravel-bed rivers; forest disturbance; wildfire; eutrophication; climate change

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