State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010IN244B
Title: Landscape Controls on Riparian Zone Function Vis-à-Vis Multiple Contaminants and Associated Pollution Trade-Offs
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 6
Focus Categories: Hydrogeochemistry, Toxic Substances, Geomorphological Processes
Keywords: Riparian zone, Mercury, Nitrogen, Greenhouse gas, Hydrogeomorphology, Management
Principal Investigator: Vidon, philippe Gilles (Indiana Univ, Purdue Univ, Indianapolis)
Federal Funds: $ 12,994
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 25,999
Abstract: Riparian zones (near stream zones) are frequently used as best management practices to reduce nitrate transport to streams in agricultural areas. Nevertheless, research has shown that the high organic matter content of riparian zone soils and the reducing conditions usually observed in riparian systems can release large amount of phosphorus, methylmercury, and greenhouse gases (GHG) (CO2, N2O, CH4) in the environment. These elements/molecules (P, Hg, CO2, CH4, N2O) are major environmental contaminants and the interconnections among P, Hg, C, and N cycling in riparian systems must be better quantified/understood in order to wisely integrate riparian zones into water quality improvement strategies without negatively augmenting P and Hg release to surface waters, or GHG emissions to the atmosphere. The goals of this project are threefold: 1) determine the complex interactions between N cycling, P sorption/desorption, Hg accumulation, MeHg production and greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) production/consumption in riparian ecosystems; 2) determine to what extent landscape hydrogeomorphic characteristics (HGM) (topography, soil, surficial geology) can be used to predict N removal, P sorption/desorption, Hg accumulation, methylmercury production and GHG production/consumption in riparian ecosystems; and 3) collect preliminary data for the development of larger proposals. Funding this proposal will also allow the PI to develop a new international collaboration with Dr. Carl Mitchell (University of Toronto, Canada; see letter of collaboration) and to further develop his skills in watershed biogeochemistry/hydrology by incorporating Hg, a contaminant of national importance, into his research on N, P and C cycling in the environment. In addition to presenting results at national conferences (AGU, GSA, SSSA), the PI and students involved in the project will also present research results at local conferences such as meetings of the Indiana Academy of Science and Indiana Water Resources Association, and the regional meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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