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Applications of stable isotopes for regional to national-scale water quality and environmental monitoring programs

January 1, 2010

Isotopes are a potentially powerful component of monitoring and assessment programs aimed at quantifying and mitigating alterations to environments from human activities. In particular, isotopic techniques have proved useful for tracing sources and sinks of various pollutants in large river basins, wetlands, and airsheds. Many of these studies have been conducted at the regional to national scale by building on existing large-scale water, air, and ecological monitoring programs managed by federal and state agencies, and demonstrate the usefulness of isotopes as a complement to standard chemical and hydrological mass balance methods. This chapter presents an overview of how nitrate, particulate organic matter, and water isotopes can be used to interpret spatial patterns and temporal changes in pollution sources, biogeochemical processes, and ecosystem function in watersheds, at the regional to national scale. Examples from several recent and ongoing studies are presented. From the insights developed using varied sampling strategies and isoscapes, we suggest guidelines for future studies in biologically active and human-impacted rivers.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2010
Title Applications of stable isotopes for regional to national-scale water quality and environmental monitoring programs
DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-3354-3_5
Authors Carol Kendall, Megan B. Young, Steven R. Silva
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70199019
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Western Branch; Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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