Importance of channel networks on nitrate retention in freshwater tidal wetlands, Patuxent River, Maryland
Seldomridge, Emily Dawn
Cornwell, Jeffrey C
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Freshwater tidal marshes border stream channels near the upstream end of the tidal limit, and are likely to undergo significant changes in salinity, tidal inundation, and biogeochemical processes due to sea-level rise. Tidal channel networks enhance nutrient processing by delivering nitrate-rich water far into the marsh. The purpose of this study is to examine the geomorphological, hydrological, and biogeochemical processes that influence the delivery and processing of nutrient-rich waters into tidal marshes. In this study, field measurements were made to calculate water and nitrate flux for stream channels of varying order. These mass balance calculations indicate there is an exponential increase in net nitrate retention with channel order. This calculation could be compared with calculations of denitrification at different sites within the system to evaluate the role of these processes in total nitrate loss.