Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Tracing nitrate in watersheds

Authors


Abstract

Plants need nitrogen to grow, and nitrate is a common fertilizer ingredient, but high levels of nitrate contamination in drinking water sources can cause health problems. It is generally known that nitrogen flows through watersheds from upslope areas down to streams, but the relationships between upslope soil solution or groundwater nitrate concentrations and stream water nitrate levels—and the ways in which land use changes may alter this relationship—are not fully understood.