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Tracing total and dissolved material in a western Canadian basin using quality control samples to guide the selection of fingerprinting parameters for modelling

Abstract : The source dynamics of total and dissolved material in riverine systems are being affected by anthropogenic activities resulting in the degradation of waterways worldwide. Identifying the main sources of total and dissolved material is thus central to the management of increasingly scarce water resources. Here, we utilize data generated from water quality monitoring programs to investigate the sources of total and dissolved material in a large, semi-arid basin in western Canada. Our research focuses on the confluence of two major tributaries in the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) in the Province of Alberta: the Bow River (25,611 km$^2$) and the Oldman River (28,270 km$^2$). A tributary tracing technique coupled with a Deconvolutional-MixSIAR (D-MIXSIAR) modelling approach is used to estimate the potential source contributions of total and dissolved material from major tributary sites to target node sites on the main stem of the Bow River and Oldman River in addition to target nodes downstream of their confluence. In total, 812 samples were taken from 29 sites across the SSRB. A novel approach to selecting fingerprints for modelling is presented based on the analyses of additional quality control samples (146 duplicate and 172 blank samples). Overall, the Rocky Mountain headwater catchments were found to dominate the supply of material modelled using total recoverable (68%) and dissolved (76%) metals. There were seasonal fluctuations in source dynamics evident where the Bow River dominated the supply of total (69%) and dissolved (57%) material during the ice-covered season (November-March), and the Oldman River dominated the supply of total (73%) and dissolved (59%) material during the open water season (April-October). On the one hand, these seasonal dynamics are potentially the result of the extensive regulation of flow, particularly along the Bow River. On the other hand, the intensification of agriculture in the prairie/plain catchments may also facilitate the excess supply of total relative to dissolved material. For example, the Little Bow River, with ~70% agricultural land cover, contributed ~14 times more total material than anticipated based on discharge and 1.6 times more than anticipated based on unit area during the open water season. Overall, this research has improved our understanding of the source dynamics of total and dissolved material in the SSRB, providing the foundation for focussed studies targeting the main sources of total and dissolved material in this large, semi-arid basin in western Canada. In addition, our research highlights the potential of using existent data generated from water quality monitoring programs along with quality control best practices to help improve our understanding of the source dynamics of total and dissolved material in waterways around the world.
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https://hal-cea.archives-ouvertes.fr/cea-03109033
Contributor : Olivier Evrard <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 3:45:12 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 26, 2021 - 3:12:10 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, April 14, 2021 - 6:53:54 PM

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J. Laceby, P. Batista, N. Taube, M. Kruk, C. Chung, et al.. Tracing total and dissolved material in a western Canadian basin using quality control samples to guide the selection of fingerprinting parameters for modelling. CATENA, Elsevier, 2021, 200, pp.105095. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2020.105095⟩. ⟨cea-03109033⟩

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