• Acid herbicides;
  • Prairie wetlands;
  • Dissipation;
  • Field DT50;
  • Infiltration


In the present study, an ephemeral (E) and a semipermanent (SP) wetland were divided into halves using a polyvinyl curtain and one-half of each wetland was treated with dicamba (3,6-dichloro-o-anisic acid), bromoxynil (3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxy-benzonitrile), MCPA [(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)acetic acid], 2,4-D [(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)acetic acid], mecoprop-P (R)-2-(4-chloro-o-tolyloxy)propionic acid], and dichlorprop [(RS)-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)propionic acid] such that concentrations in the water simulated an overspraying event, thus representing a worst-case scenario for wetland contamination. Water and sediment samples were taken over the 77-d study period to monitor herbicide concentrations. The dissipation of all six herbicides could be described by first-order reaction kinetics. In water, the field half-life (DT50) values ranged from 2.3 d (bromoxynil) to 31 d (dichlorprop). All six herbicides were detected in sediment samples from both wetlands. Overall, the phenoxypropionic acids (mecoprop-P and dichlorprop) were more persistent than the phenoxyacetic acids (2,4-D and MCPA) in both sediment and water. Use of bromide ion as a conservative tracer indicated that infiltration through sediment was an important route of water loss in both wetlands, especially in wetland E. Because strong correlations were found between the mass of each herbicide and bromide ion mass in wetland SP (r2 = 0.59–0.76) and wetland E (r2 = 0.80–0.95), it is likely that herbicide dissipation was due, in part, to mass lost by way of infiltration through sediment. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011;30:1982–1989. © 2011 SETAC