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Relative Effects of Land Use and Near-Stream Chemistry on Phosphorus in an Urban Stream

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TitleRelative Effects of Land Use and Near-Stream Chemistry on Phosphorus in an Urban Stream
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSonoda, K, Yeakley JA
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Date Published2007/1

Elevated levels of P in urban streams can pose significant water quality problems. Sources of P in urban streams, however, are difficult to identify. It is important to recognize both natural and anthropogenic sources of P. We investigated near-stream chemistry and land use factors on stream water P in the urbanizing Johnson Creek watershed in Portland, OR, USA. We sampled stream water and shallow groundwater soluble reactive P (SRP) and total P (TP) and estimated P flux at 13 sites along the main stem of Johnson Creek, with eight sites in urban land use areas and five sites in nonurban land use areas. At each site, we sampled the A and B horizons, measuring soil pH, water-soluble P, acid-soluble P, base-soluble P, total P, Fe, and Al. We found continuous input of P to the stream water via shallow groundwater throughout the Johnson Creek watershed. The shallow groundwater P concentrations were correlated with stream water P within the nonurban area; however, this correlation was not found in the urban area, suggesting that other factors in the urban area masked the relationship between groundwater P and stream water P. Aluminum and Fe concentrations were inversely correlated with shallow groundwater P, suggesting that greater P adsorption to Al and Fe oxides in the nonurban area reduced availability of shallow groundwater P. Using stepwise multiple regression analysis, however, we concluded that while riparian soil chemistry was related to stream water P, land use patterns had a more significant relationship with stream water P concentrations in this urbanizing system.