The impact of beaver impoundments on the water chemistry of two Appalachian streams

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Abstract:

We measured the impacts of beaver impoundments on the water chemistry of two headwater streams on the Appalachian Plateau, an unnamed tributary to Herrington Creek (HR), and Mountain Run (MT). We measured acid-neutralizing capacity (ANC), pH, conductivity, discharge, temperature, and the concentrations of major ions, dissolved organic carbon (doc), and trace metals in stream water upstream and 1 m, 10 m, and 100 m downstream of the beaver impoundments and at two locations, 147 m apart, in a tributary to HR that did not contain a beaver impoundment. There were significant differences in water chemistry upstream and downstream of the beaver impoundments at both MT and HR, but these differences were generally confined to the summer. During the summer, both beaver impoundments generated ANC and increased pH by acting as sinks for NO3 and sources of NH4+, iron, and manganese. In addition, the beaver impoundment at MT was a sink for SO42– and the impoundment at HR was a source of doc. The generation of ANC by beaver impoundments may be important to streams of this region where inputs of strong acids from atmospheric deposition are relatively high.

Nous avons mesuré l'impact de la présence d'étangs de castors sur la chimie de l'eau de deux ruisseaux d'amont du plateau Applalachien, un tributaire sans nom de Herrington Creek (HR) et Mountain Run (MT). Nous avons mesuré le potentiel de neutralisation d'acides (ANC), le pH, la conductivité, le débit, la température, de même que les concentrations des principaux ions, du carbone organique dissous (doc) et des métaux traces dans l'eau des ruisseaux en amont de deux étangs de castors situés à 147 m de distance l'un de l'autre, ainsi qu'à 1 m, 10 m et 100 m en aval des barrages; nous avons aussi déterminé les mêmes paramètres dans un tributaire de HR qui ne comportait pas d'étang de castor. Il y avait des différences significatives dans la chimie de l'eau en amont et en aval des étangs de castors, tant sur MT que sur HR, mais ces différences n'existaient guère qu'en été. Durant l'été, les deux étangs augmentaient l'ANC et le pH en servant de drains au NO3 et de sources de NH4+, de fer et de manganèse. De plus, l'étang sur MT servait de drain au SO42– et celui sur HR de source de doc. La production d'ANC par les étangs de castors peut s'avérer importante pour les ruisseaux de cette région dans laquelle les apports d'acides forts par la déposition atmosphérique est relativement élevée.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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