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Spatially-distributed Influence of Agro-environmental Factors Governing Nitrate Fate and Transport in an Irrigated Stream-aquifer System : Volume 12, Issue 2 (04/02/2015)

By Bailey, R. T.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004012265
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 44
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Spatially-distributed Influence of Agro-environmental Factors Governing Nitrate Fate and Transport in an Irrigated Stream-aquifer System : Volume 12, Issue 2 (04/02/2015)  
Author: Bailey, R. T.
Volume: Vol. 12, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Hydrology, Earth
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Arabi, M., Gates, T. K., Ahmadi, M., & Bailey, R. T. (2015). Spatially-distributed Influence of Agro-environmental Factors Governing Nitrate Fate and Transport in an Irrigated Stream-aquifer System : Volume 12, Issue 2 (04/02/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, 1372 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1372, USA. Elevated levels of nitrate (NO3) in groundwater systems pose a serious risk to human populations and natural ecosystems. As part of an effort to remediate NO3 contamination in irrigated stream-aquifer systems, this study elucidates agricultural and environmental parameters and processes that govern NO3 fate and transport at the regional (500 km2), local (50 km2), and field scales (< 1 km2). Specifically, the revised Morris sensitivity analysis method was applied to a finite-difference nitrogen cycling and reactive transport model of a regional-scale study site in the Lower Arkansas River Valley in southeastern Colorado. The method was used to rank the influence of anthropogenic activities and natural chemical processes on NO3 groundwater concentration, NO3 mass leaching, and NO3 mass loading to the Arkansas River from the aquifer. Sensitivity indices were computed for the entire study area in aggregate as well as each canal command area, crop type, and individual grid cells. Results suggest that fertilizer loading, crop uptake, and heterotrophic denitrification govern NO3 fate and transport for the majority of the study area, while canal NO3 concentration and rates of autotrophic denitrification, nitrification, and humus decomposition dominate or partially dominate in several canal command areas. Also, NO3 leaching and groundwater concentration in adjacent cultivated fields often are governed by different processes and mass inputs/outputs. Results can be used to determine critical processes and key management actions for future data collection and remediation strategies, with efforts able to be focused on localized areas.

Spatially-distributed influence of agro-environmental factors governing nitrate fate and transport in an irrigated stream-aquifer system

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