Duke University Wetland Center Research News



Sources, Transport, and Fate of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Upper Falls Lake Watershed, NC


Mark River, NSOE Ph.D. 2018, studied the sources, transport, and fate of nitrogen and phosphorus in the Upper Falls Lake Watershed in North Carolina. The Falls Lake Watershed supplies all drinking water for Durham, along with half for the city of Raleigh. The Falls Lake Watershed also receives half of Durham's wastewater, along with all of Hillsborough's and Butner's wastewater. The rapid population growth and changing land use in the watershed raises concerns about the potential for eutrophication of water resources.


His field work and lab analysis investigated the stormflow delivery of nutrients; the relationship between phosphorus and suspended sediment; the ultimate fate of nitrogen and phosphorus that reaches wetlands/reservoirs; and how wetland restoration and/or BMPs can reduce N & P transport in the watershed. His approach to the particulate transport of phosphorus will be useful in the development of best management practices.


River, M., and C.J. Richardson. 2018. Particle size distribution predicts particulate phosphorus removal. Ambio 47 (Suppl. 1):S124-S133. DOI 10.1007/213280-017-0981-z


River, M., and C.J. Richardson. 2018. Stream transport of iron and phosphorus by authigenic nanoparticles in the Southern Piedmont of the U.S. Water Research 130 (2018) 312-321. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2017.12.004




Upper left. Mark River collects sediment cores from Falls Lake. Right. Collected core samples awaiting analysis. Lower left. River collects a sample of the stormwater runoff that will eventually find its way to Falls Lake.