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Impact of Preferential Flow Pathways on Ability of Riparian Wetlands to Mitigate Agricultural Pollution
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.orgCitation: Pp. 53-56 in Preferential Flow, Water Movement and Chemical Transport in the Environment, Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. (3-5 January 2001, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), eds. D. D. Bosch and K. W. King. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASAE 701P0006.
Authors: G.W. McCarty and J. Angier
Keywords: denitrification, riparian buffers, water quality
The impact of preferential pathways for groundwater movement on wetland function was studied in the riparian system associated with a first-order stream draining an agricultural catchment. Evidence for preferential groundwater flow includes finding open macropores and layers of wetland soil with high hydraulic conductivity. These flow pathways were found to operate on different orders of scale within the wetland ecosystem. Open channel macropores in the system typically function on a relatively small (centimeter) scale as determined by pore diameter and length. Larger orders of scale include the continuous layers of high-conductivity material which can operate with meter-plus dimension. The range of hydraulic conductivity can span three orders of magnitude (10