skip to main content

Title: The slow and steady salinization of Sparkling Lake, Wisconsin
The concentrations of conservative solutes in seepage lakes are determined by the relative inputs of precipitation vs. groundwater. In areas of road salt application, seepage lakes may be at high risk of salinization depending on groundwater flow. Here, we revisit a 1992 analysis on the salinization of Sparkling Lake, a deep seepage lake in Northern Wisconsin. The original analysis predicted a rapid increase in chloride concentrations before reaching a steady steady of 8 mg L−1 by 2020. Forty years of monitoring Sparkling Lake show that rather than reaching a dynamic equilibrium, chloride concentrations have steadily increased. We update the original box model approach by adding a soil reservoir component that shows the slow steady rise in chloride is the result of terrestrial retention. For freshwater rivers and lakes, chloride retention on the landscape will both delay chloride impairment and prolong recovery and must be considered when modeling future chloride contamination risk.
Authors:
;
Award ID(s):
2025982
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10316432
Journal Name:
Limnology and Oceanography Letters
ISSN:
2378-2242
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Freshwater salinization is an emerging global problem impacting safe drinking water, ecosystem health and biodiversity, infrastructure corrosion, and food production. Freshwater salinization originates from diverse anthropogenic and geologic sources including road salts, human-accelerated weathering, sewage, urban construction, fertilizer, mine drainage, resource extraction, water softeners, saltwater intrusion, and evaporative concentration of ions due to hydrologic alterations and climate change. The complex interrelationships between salt ions and chemical, biological, and geologic parameters and consequences on the natural, social, and built environment are called Freshwater Salinization Syndrome (FSS). Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of salinization issues (past, present, and future), and we investigate drivers and solutions. We analyze the expanding global magnitude and scope of FSS including its discovery in humid regions, connections to human-accelerated weathering and mobilization of ‘chemical cocktails.’ We also present data illustrating: (1) increasing trends in salt ion concentrations in some of the world’s major freshwaters, including critical drinking water supplies; (2) decreasing trends in nutrient concentrations in rivers due to regulations but increasing trends in salinization, which have been due to lack of adequate management and regulations; (3) regional trends in atmospheric deposition of salt ions and storage of salt ions in soils and groundwater, andmore »(4) applications of specific conductance as a proxy for tracking sources and concentrations of groups of elements in freshwaters. We prioritize FSS research needs related to better understanding: (1) effects of saltwater intrusion on ecosystem processes, (2) potential health risks from groundwater contamination of home wells, (3) potential risks to clean and safe drinking water sources, (4) economic and safety impacts of infrastructure corrosion, (5) alteration of biodiversity and ecosystem functions, and (6) application of high-frequency sensors in state-of-the art monitoring and management. We evaluate management solutions using a watershed approach spanning air, land, and water to explore variations in sources, fate and transport of different salt ions ( e.g. monitoring of atmospheric deposition of ions, stormwater management, groundwater remediation, and managing road runoff). We also identify tradeoffs in management approaches such as unanticipated retention and release of chemical cocktails from urban stormwater management best management practices (BMPs) and unintended consequences of alternative deicers on water quality. Overall, we show that FSS has direct and indirect effects on mobilization of diverse chemical cocktails of ions, metals, nutrients, organics, and radionuclides in freshwaters with mounting impacts. Our comprehensive review suggests what could happen if FSS were not managed into the future and evaluates strategies for reducing increasing risks to clean and safe drinking water, human health, costly infrastructure, biodiversity, and critical ecosystem services.« less
  2. Abstract

    Global change is influencing production and respiration in ecosystems across the globe. Lakes in particular are changing in response to climatic variability and cultural eutrophication, resulting in changes in ecosystem metabolism. Although the primary drivers of production and respiration such as the availability of nutrients, light, and carbon are well known, heterogeneity in hydrologic setting (for example, hydrological connectivity, morphometry, and residence) across and within regions may lead to highly variable responses to the same drivers of change, complicating our efforts to predict these responses. We explored how differences in hydrologic setting among lakes influenced spatial and inter annual variability in ecosystem metabolism, using high-frequency oxygen sensor data from 11 lakes over 8 years. Trends in mean metabolic rates of lakes generally followed gradients of nutrient and carbon concentrations, which were lowest in seepage lakes, followed by drainage lakes, and higher in bog lakes. We found that while ecosystem respiration (ER) was consistently higher in wet years in all hydrologic settings, gross primary production (GPP) only increased in tandem in drainage lakes. However, interannual rates of ER and GPP were relatively stable in drainage lakes, in contrast to seepage and bog lakes which had coefficients of variation in metabolism betweenmore »22–32%. We explored how the geospatial context of lakes, including hydrologic residence time, watershed area to lake area, and landscape position influenced the sensitivity of individual lake responses to climatic variation. We propose a conceptual framework to help steer future investigations of how hydrologic setting mediates the response of metabolism to climatic variability.

    « less
  3. Abstract
    Excessive phosphorus (P) applications to croplands can contribute to eutrophication of surface waters through surface runoff and subsurface (leaching) losses. We analyzed leaching losses of total dissolved P (TDP) from no-till corn, hybrid poplar (Populus nigra X P. maximowiczii), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), miscanthus (Miscanthus giganteus), native grasses, and restored prairie, all planted in 2008 on former cropland in Michigan, USA. All crops except corn (13 kg P ha−1 year−1) were grown without P fertilization. Biomass was harvested at the end of each growing season except for poplar. Soil water at 1.2 m depth was sampled weekly to biweekly for TDP determination during March–November 2009–2016 using tension lysimeters. Soil test P (0–25 cm depth) was measured every autumn. Soil water TDP concentrations were usually below levels where eutrophication of surface waters is frequently observed (> 0.02 mg L−1) but often higher than in deep groundwater or nearby streams and lakes. Rates of P leaching, estimated from measured concentrations and modeled drainage, did not differ statistically among cropping systems across years; 7-year cropping system means ranged from 0.035 to 0.072 kg P ha−1 year−1 with large interannual variation. Leached P was positively related to STP, which decreased over the 7 years in all systems. These results indicate that both P-fertilized and unfertilized cropping systems mayMore>>
  4. Freshwater salinization syndrome (FSS) refers to the suite of interactive effects of salt ions on degradation of physical, biological,and social systems. Best management practices (BMPs), which are methods to effectively reduce runoff and nonpoint source pollution (stormwater, nutrients, sediments), do not typically consider management of salt pollution. We investigate impacts of FSS on mobilization of salts, nutrients, and metals in urban streams and storm water BMPs by analyzing original data on concentrations and fluxes of salts, nutrients, and metals from 7 urban watersheds in the Mid-Atlantic USA and synthesizing literature data. We also explore future critical research needs through a survey of practitioners and scientists. Our original data show 1) sharp pulses in concentrations of salt ions and metals in urban streams directly following both road salt events and stream restoration construction (e.g.,similar to the way concentrations increase during other soil disturbance activities); 2) sharp declines in pH (acidification) in response to road salt applications because of mobilization of H+ from soil exchange sites by Na+; 3) sharp increases inorganic matter from microbial and algal sources (based on fluorescence spectroscopy) in response to road salt applications, likely because of lysing cells and changes insolubility; 4) substantial retention (~30–40%) of Na+more »in stormwater BMP sediments and floodplains in response to salinization; 5) increased ion exchange and mobilization of diverse salt ions (Na+, Ca2+, K+, Mg2+), nutrients(N, P), and trace metals(Cu, Sr) from stormwater BMPs and restored streams in response to FSS; 6) downstream increasing loads ofCl–, SO42–, Br–, F–,andI–along flowpaths through urbanstreams and P release from urban stormwater BMPs in response to salinization; and 7)a substantial annual reduction (>50%) in Na+concentrations in an urban stream when road salt applications were dramatically reduced, which suggests potential for ecosystem recovery. We compare our original results with published metrics of contaminant retention and release across a broad range of stormwater BMPs from North America and Europe.Overall, urban streams and stormwater BMPs consistently retain Na+ and Cl–but mobilize multiple contaminants based on salt types and salinity levels. Finally, we present our top 10 research questions regarding FSS impacts on urban streams and stormwater BMPs. Reducing diverse chemical cocktails of contaminants mobilized by freshwater salinization is a priority for effectively and holistically restoring urban waters.« less
  5. Phytoplankton assembly dynamics in lakes are highly sensitive to variability in climate drivers and resulting physicochemical changes in lake water columns. As climate change increases the frequency of major precipitation events and droughts, many lakes experience increased inputs of colored dissolved organic carbon (CDOC) and nutrients. How these CDOC-related changes in resources, transparency, and thermal stability affect phytoplankton assemblages, succession, and resilience is understudied, particularly in subtropical lakes. Here, we used time series, multivariate, and trait-based functional redundancy analyses to elucidate the roles of phytoplankton in ecosystem resilience and determine potential drivers of assemblage shifts in a subtropical monomictic lake with fluctuating CDOC inputs (Lake Annie, Highlands County, Florida, USA). We found that phytoplankton assemblages and successional patterns differed between two dark-water states (late 2005–mid-2007, late 2012–2019) bracketing a clear-water state (mid-2007–late 2012), caused by shifting CDOC and nutrient concentrations associated with oscillating groundwater levels. Diatoms (Bacillariophyta), which were dominant during the two dark-water states, nearly disappeared and were replaced by synurophytes during the clear-water state. Assemblages had greater interannual consistency in the dark-water states, while mean functional redundancy decreased in the clear-water state. Seasonal phytoplankton successional changes were also more pronounced and synchronized with seasonal hydrologic shifts in themore »dark-water states. Multiyear assemblage shifts occurred more quickly in clear-to-dark than dark-to-clear state transitions, suggesting phytoplankton in dark-water states may be more resistant to state transitions or even contribute to dark-water state resilience via feedback loops.« less