Riparian Zones: Groundwater Nitrate (NO ) Cycling

Authored by: D. Q. Kellogg

Wetlands and Habitats

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  May  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138334199
eBook ISBN: 9780429445507
Adobe ISBN:


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Nitrate is the most mobile form of nitrogen in groundwater and can be transported long distances without transformation. Coastal estuaries are sensitive to excessive nitrogen loading from the watershed, with overfertilization contributing to eutrophication and hypoxia, stressing marine life. Vegetated riparian zones are a common management practice used to reduce nitrate delivery to coastal waters. Because of their position between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, vegetated riparian zones provide opportunities for nitrate transformation before emerging to surface water. Riparian zones vary spatially and temporally, and this variation affects the extent to which groundwater nitrate cycling occurs. Plant uptake, microbial immobilization, and denitrification are major groundwater nitrate transformation pathways.

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