Water Quality Research Journal of Canada
Vol. 38 (2): 335 - 359 (2003). General issue
Enhanced Prairie Wetland Effects on Surface Water Quality in Crowfoot Creek, Alberta
D. Rodney Bennett, Jerry M. Brunen, David S. Chanasyk, Gerald R. Ontkean, Sandi Riemersma
A three-year study was conducted to examine the effects of a prairie wetland enhanced for waterfowl habitat on surface water quality in the Crowfoot Creek watershed in southern Alberta, Canada. Monitoring was carried out at the Hilton wetland from mid-March to the end of October in 1997 to 1999 at two inflow sites and one outflow site. Data were collected on flow, total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), total suspended solids (TSS), and fecal coliform (FC) bacteria. Nutrient concentrations were highest in the spring, and decreased during the remainder of the monitoring period each year. Nutrient concentrations did not change significantly within the wetland due to the form of nutrient, reduced retention times for nutrient uptake, and the addition of nutrients to the water through sediment release and decomposition of organic matter. The wetland acted as both a source and a sink for nutrients, depending on flow volumes. TSS concentrations decreased significantly from inflow to outflow, indicating sedimentation occurred in the wetland. FC bacteria levels were lowest in the spring and increased during the post-spring runoff (PSRO) period. FC bacteria counts decreased significantly within the wetland throughout the entire year. The Hilton wetland was effective in reducing the amounts of TSS and FC bacteria exported from the wetland; however, there was no significant change in nutrient status.
agricultural impacts, enhanced wetland, irrigation return flow, water quality