Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2009 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Dissolved Organic Carbon in Streams: The effect of hydrologic state and stormwater runoff on concentrations and fluxes along an urban stream continuum
Belt, Ken
Co-Authors: Belt, Kenneth, Kaushal, Sujay, Swan, Christopher, Stack, William, Pouyat, Richard, and Peter Groffman.

Abstract: Urban streams have often been viewed as simple extensions of stormwater networks. They are, rather, very complex catchment-wide hydrologic ecosystems. Of great importance is the degree of connectivity between civil infrastructure and receiving streams, including pathways for the routing of stormflow, augmentation of baseflow by potable water networks, “upland riparian” sources, and riparian interactions with sanitary sewers. Storm and baseflow sampling at a forested reference and urban streams of the BES Long Term Ecological Research network will be discussed in terms of DOC concentrations & fluxes in urban stormwater systems. Biweekly sampling revealed that both impervious cover (ISC) and hydrologic state were important drivers, with DOC concentrations at the urban sites were higher than the forested reference site. Stormwater sampling showed that within stormwater hydrographs While dry weather exports of DOC are similar for both forested and urban streams, ISC and its attendant network of drainage infrastructure (and strong terrestrial-aquatic linkages) may be greatly modifying wet weather related DOC fluxes, resulting in much higher exports for more urbanized catchments. This may have significant implications for eutrophy of downstream aquatic ecosystems, pollutant transport, and disinfection by-product formation during drinking water treatment processes in urbanizing catchments.