Publications by authors named "Gregory B Noe"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Modeling impacts of drought-induced salinity intrusion on carbon dynamics in tidal freshwater forested wetlands.

Ecol Appl 2022 Jun 25:e2700. Epub 2022 Jun 25.

U. S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA.

Tidal freshwater forested wetlands (TFFW) provide critical ecosystem services including essential habitat for a variety of wildlife species and significant carbon sinks for atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, large uncertainties remain concerning the impacts of climate change on the magnitude and variability of carbon fluxes and storage across a range of TFFW. In this study, we developed a process-driven Tidal Freshwater Wetlands DeNitrification-DeComposition model (TFW-DNDC) that has integrated new features, such as soil salinity effects on plant productivity and soil organic matter decomposition to explore carbon dynamics in TFFW in response to drought-induced saltwater intrusion. Eight sites along the floodplains of the Waccamaw River (USA) and the Savannah River (USA) were selected to represent TFFW transition from healthy to moderately and highly salt-impacted forests, and eventually to oligohaline marshes. TFW-DNDC was calibrated and validated using field observed annual litterfall, stem growth, root growth, soil heterotrophic respiration and soil organic carbon storage. Analyses indicate that plant productivity and soil carbon sequestration in TFFW could change substantially in response to increased soil porewater salinity and reduced soil water table due to drought, but in interactive ways dependent on the river simulated. Such responses are variable due to non-linear relationships between carbon cycling processes and environmental drivers. Plant productivity, plant respiration, soil organic carbon sequestration rate and storage in the highly salt-impacted forest sites decreased significantly under drought conditions compared to normal conditions. Considering the high likelihood of healthy and moderately salt-impacted forests becoming highly salt-impacted forests under future climate change and sea-level rise, it is very likely that TFFW will lose their capacity as carbon sinks without up-slope migration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/eap.2700DOI Listing
June 2022

The statistical power to detect regional temporal trends in riverine contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, USA.

Sci Total Environ 2022 Mar 20;812:152435. Epub 2021 Dec 20.

U.S. Geological Survey, Florence Bascom Geoscience Center, Reston, VA 20192, USA.

Chemical contamination of riverine ecosystems is largely a result of urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural activities occurring on adjacent terrestrial landscapes. Land management activities (e.g., Best Management Practices) are an important tool used to reduce point and non-point sources of pollution. However, the ability to confidently make inferences about the efficacy of land management activities on reducing in-stream chemical concentrations is poorly understood. We estimated regional temporal trends and components of variation for commonly used herbicides (atrazine and metolachlor), total estrogenicity, and riverine sediment concentrations of total PCBs for rivers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, USA. We then used the estimated variance components to perform a power analysis and evaluated the statistical power to detect regional temporal trends under different monitoring scenarios. Scenarios included varying the magnitude of the annual contaminant decline, the number of sites sampled each year, the number of years sampled, and sampling frequency. Monitoring for short time periods (e.g., 5 years) was inadequate for detecting regional temporal trends, regardless of the number of sites sampled or the magnitude of the annual declines. Even when monitoring over a 20-year period, sampling a relatively large number of sites each year was required (e.g., >50 sites) to achieve adequate statistical power for smaller trend magnitudes (declines of 5-7%/year). Annual sampling frequency had little impact on power for any monitoring scenario. All sampling scenarios were underpowered for sediment total PCBs. Power was greatest for total estrogenicity, suggesting that this aggregate measure of estrogenic activity may be a useful indicator. This study provides information that can be used to help (1) guide the development of monitoring programs aimed at detecting regional declines in riverine chemical contaminant concentrations in response to land management actions, and (2) set expectations for the ability to detect changes over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152435DOI Listing
March 2022

The Chesapeake Bay Program Modeling System: Overview and Recommendations for Future Development.

Ecol Modell 2021 Sep;465:1-109635

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 21037, USA.

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest, most productive, and most biologically diverse estuary in the continental United States providing crucial habitat and natural resources for culturally and economically important species. Pressures from human population growth and associated development and agricultural intensification have led to excessive nutrient and sediment inputs entering the Bay, negatively affecting the health of the Bay ecosystem and the economic services it provides. The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) is a unique program formally created in 1983 as a multi-stakeholder partnership to guide and foster restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Since its inception, the CBP Partnership has been developing, updating, and applying a complex linked modeling system of watershed, airshed, and estuary models as a planning tool to inform strategic management decisions and Bay restoration efforts. This paper provides a description of the 2017 CBP Modeling System and the higher trophic level models developed by the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, along with specific recommendations that emerged from a 2018 workshop designed to inform future model development. Recommendations highlight the need for simulation of watershed inputs, conditions, processes, and practices at higher resolution to provide improved information to guide local nutrient and sediment management plans. More explicit and extensive modeling of connectivity between watershed landforms and estuary sub-areas, estuarine hydrodynamics, watershed and estuarine water quality, the estuarine-watershed socioecological system, and living resources will be important to broaden and improve characterization of responses to targeted nutrient and sediment load reductions. Finally, the value and importance of maintaining effective collaborations among jurisdictional managers, scientists, modelers, support staff, and stakeholder communities is emphasized. An open collaborative and transparent process has been a key element of successes to date and is vitally important as the CBP Partnership moves forward with modeling system improvements that help stakeholders evolve new knowledge, improve management strategies, and better communicate outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2021.109635DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8525429PMC
September 2021

Time marches on, but do the causal pathways driving instream habitat and biology remain consistent?

Sci Total Environ 2021 May 24;789:147985. Epub 2021 May 24.

U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Ecological Science Center at the Leetown Research Laboratory, Kearneysville, WV, USA.

Stream ecosystems are complex networks of interacting terrestrial and aquatic drivers. To untangle these ecological networks, efforts evaluating the direct and indirect effects of landscape, climate, and instream predictors on biological condition through time are needed. We used structural equation modeling and leveraged a stream survey program to identify and compare important predictors driving condition of benthic macroinvertebrate and fish assemblages. We used data resampled 14 years apart at 252 locations across Maryland, USA. Sample locations covered a wide range of conditions that varied spatiotemporally. Overall, the relationship directions were consistent between sample periods, but their relative strength varied temporally. For benthic macroinvertebrates, we found that the total effect of natural landscape (e.g., elevation, longitude, latitude, geology) and land use (i.e., forest, development, agriculture) predictors was 1.4 and 1.5 times greater in the late 2010s compared to the 2000s. Moreover, the total effect of water quality (e.g., total nitrogen and conductivity) and habitat (e.g., embeddedness, riffle quality) was 1.2 and 4.8 times lower in the 2010s, respectively. For fish assemblage condition, the total effect of land use-land cover predictors was 2.3 times greater in the 2010s compared to the 2000s, while the total effect of local habitat was 1.4 times lower in the 2010s, respectively. As expected, we found biological assemblages in catchments with more agriculture and urban development were generally comprised of tolerant, generalist species, while assemblages in catchments with greater forest cover had more-specialized, less-tolerant species (e.g., Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera taxa, clingers, benthic and lithophilic spawning fishes). Changes in the relative importance of landscape and land-use predictors suggest other correlated, yet unmeasured, proximal factors became more important over time. By untangling these ecological networks, stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the spatiotemporal relationships driving biological condition to implement management practices aimed at improving stream condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147985DOI Listing
May 2021

Belowground productivity varies by assessment technique, vegetation type, and nutrient availability in tidal freshwater forested wetlands transitioning to marsh.

PLoS One 2021 16;16(7):e0253554. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

National Park Service, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.

Wetlands along upper estuaries are characterized by dynamic transitions between forested and herbaceous communities (marsh) as salinity, hydroperiod, and nutrients change. The importance of belowground net primary productivity (BNPP) associated with fine and coarse root growth also changes but remains the dominant component of overall productivity in these important blue carbon wetlands. Appropriate BNPP assessment techniques to use in various tidal wetlands are not well-defined, and could make a difference in BNPP estimation. We hypothesized that different BNPP techniques applied among tidal wetlands differ in estimation of BNPP and possibly also correlate differently with porewater nutrient concentrations. We compare 6-month and 12-month root ingrowth, serial soil coring techniques utilizing two different calculations, and a mass balance approach (TBCA, Total Belowground Carbon Allocation) among four tidal wetland types along each of two river systems transitioning from freshwater forest to marsh. Median values of BNPP were 266 to 2946 g/m2/year among all techniques used, with lower BNPP estimation from root ingrowth cores and TBCA (266-416 g/m2/year), and higher BNPP estimation from serial coring of standing crop root biomass (using Smalley and Max-Min calculation methods) (2336-2946 g/m2/year). Root turnover (or longevity) to a soil depth of 30 cm was 2.2/year (1.3 years), 2.7/year (1.1 years), 4.5/year (0.9 years), and 1.2/year (2.6 years), respectively, for Upper Forest, Middle Forest, Lower Forest, and Marsh. Marsh had greater root biomass and BNPP, with slower root turnover (greater root longevity) versus forested wetlands. Soil porewater concentrations of NH3 and reactive phosphorus stimulated BNPP in the marsh when assessed with short-deployment BNPP techniques, indicating that pulses of mineralized nutrients may stimulate BNPP to facilitate marsh replacement of forested wetlands. Overall, ingrowth techniques appeared to represent forested wetland BNPP adequately, while serial coring may be necessary to represent herbaceous plant BNPP from rhizomes as marshes replace forested wetlands.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0253554PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8284669PMC
November 2021

A method to quantify and value floodplain sediment and nutrient retention ecosystem services.

J Environ Manage 2018 Aug 11;220:65-76. Epub 2018 May 11.

U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center, Reston, 521 National Center, Reston, VA, USA.

Floodplains provide critical ecosystem services to local and downstream communities by retaining floodwaters, sediments, and nutrients. The dynamic nature of floodplains is such that these areas can both accumulate sediment and nutrients through deposition, and export material downstream through erosion. Therefore, estimating floodplain sediment and nutrient retention should consider the net flux of both depositional and erosive processes. An ecosystem services framework was used to quantify and value the sediment and nutrient ecosystem service provided by floodplains in the Difficult Run watershed, a small (151 km) suburban watershed located in the Piedmont of Virginia (USA). A sediment balance was developed for Difficult Run and two nested watersheds. The balance included upland sediment delivery to streams, stream bank flux, floodplain flux, and stream load. Upland sediment delivery was estimated using geospatial datasets and a modified Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation. Predictive models were developed to extrapolate field measurements of the flux of sediment, sediment-bound nitrogen (N), and sediment-bound phosphorus (P) from stream banks and floodplains to 3232 delineated stream segments in the study area. A replacement cost approach was used to estimate the economic value of the sediment and nutrient retention ecosystem service based on estimated net stream bank and floodplain flux of sediment-bound N for all streams in the study area. Results indicated the net fluvial fluxes of sediment, sediment-bound N, and sediment-bound P were -10,439 Mg yr (net export), 57,300 kg-N yr (net trapping), and 98 kg-P yr(net trapping), respectively. For sediment, floodplain retention was offset by substantial losses from stream bank erosion, particularly in headwater catchments, resulting in a net export of sediment. Nutrient retention in the floodplain exceeded that lost through stream bank erosion resulting in net retention of nutrients (TN and TP). Using a conservative cost estimate of $12.69 (USD) per kilogram of nitrogen, derived from wastewater treatment costs, the estimated annual value for sediment and nutrient retention on Difficult Run floodplains was $727,226 ± 194,220 USD/yr. Values and differences in floodplain nitrogen retention among stream reaches can be used to target areas for floodplain conservation and stream restoration. The methods presented are scalable and transferable to other areas if appropriate datasets are available for validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.05.013DOI Listing
August 2018

Comparison of sediment and nutrient export and runoff characteristics from watersheds with centralized versus distributed stormwater management.

J Environ Manage 2017 Dec 10;203(Pt 1):286-298. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center, 521 National Center, Reston, VA, USA.

Stormwater control measures (SCMs) are used to retain stormwater and pollutants. SCMs have traditionally been installed in a centralized manner using detention to mitigate peak flows. Recently, distributed SCM networks that treat runoff near the source have been increasingly utilized. The aim of this study was to evaluate differences among watersheds that vary in SCM arrangement by assessing differences in baseflow nutrient (NO-N and PO) concentrations and fluxes, stormflow export of suspended sediments and particulate phosphorus (PP), and runoff characteristics. A paired watershed approach was used to compare export between 2004 and 2016 from one forested watershed (For-MD), one suburban watershed with centralized SCMs (Cent-MD), and one suburban watershed with distributed SCMs (Dist-MD). Results indicated baseflow nitrate (NO-N) concentrations typically exceeded 1 mg-N/L in all watersheds and were highest in Dist-MD. Over the last 10 years in Dist-MD, nitrate concentrations in both stream baseflow and in a groundwater well declined as land use shifted from agriculture to suburban. Baseflow nitrate export temporarily increased during the construction phase of SCM development in Dist-MD. This temporary pulse of nitrate may be attributed to the conversion of sediment control facilities to SCMs and increased subsurface flushing as infiltration SCMs came on line. During storm flow, Dist-MD tended to have less runoff and lower maximum specific discharge than Cent-MD for small events (<1.3 cm), but runoff responses became increasingly similar to Cent-MD with increasing precipitation (>1.3 cm). Mass export estimated during paired storm events indicated Dist-MD exported 30% less sediment and 31% more PP than Cent-MD. For large precipitation events, export of sediment and PP was similar among all three watersheds. Results suggest that distributed SCMs can reduce runoff and sediment loads during small rain events compared to centralized SCMs, but these differences become less evident for large events when peak discharge likely leads to substantial bank erosion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.07.067DOI Listing
December 2017

Planting richness affects the recovery of vegetation and soil processes in constructed wetlands following disturbance.

Sci Total Environ 2017 Feb 1;579:1366-1378. Epub 2016 Dec 1.

United States Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA 20192, USA.

The resilience of constructed wetland ecosystems to severe disturbance, such as a mass herbivory eat-out or soil disturbance, remains poorly understood. In this study, we use a controlled mesocosm experiment to examine how original planting diversity affects the ability of constructed freshwater wetlands to recover structurally and functionally after a disturbance (i.e., aboveground harvesting and soil coring). We assessed if the planting richness of macrophyte species influences recovery of constructed wetlands one year after a disturbance. Mesocosms were planted in richness groups with various combinations of either 1, 2, 3, or 4 species (RG 1-4) to create a gradient of richness. Structural wetland traits measured include morphological regrowth of macrophytes, soil bulk density, soil moisture, soil %C, and soil %N. Functional wetland traits measured include above ground biomass production, soil potential denitrification, and soil potential microbial respiration. Total mesocosm cover increased along the gradient of plant richness (43.5% in RG 1 to 84.5% in RG 4) in the growing season after the disturbance, although not all planted individuals recovered. This was largely attributed to the dominance of the obligate annual species. The morphology of each species was affected negatively by the disturbance, producing shorter, and fewer stems than in the years prior to the disturbance, suggesting that the communities had not fully recovered one year after the disturbance. Soil characteristics were almost uniform across the planting richness gradient, but for a few exceptions (%C, C:N, and non-growing season soil moisture were higher slightly in RG 2). Denitrification potential (DEA) increased with increasing planting richness and was influenced by the abundance and quality of soil C. Increased open space in unplanted mesocosms and mesocosms with lower species richness increased labile C, leading to higher C mineralization rates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.134DOI Listing
February 2017

Hydrologic connectivity to streams increases nitrogen and phosphorus inputs and cycling in soils of created and natural floodplain wetlands.

J Environ Qual 2013 Jul;42(4):1245-55

Greater connectivity to stream surface water may result in greater inputs of allochthonous nutrients that could stimulate internal nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycling in natural, restored, and created riparian wetlands. This study investigated the effects of hydrologic connectivity to stream water on soil nutrient fluxes in plots ( = 20) located among four created and two natural freshwater wetlands of varying hydrology in the Piedmont physiographic province of Virginia. Surface water was slightly deeper; hydrologic inputs of sediment, sediment-N, and ammonium were greater; and soil net ammonification, N mineralization, and N turnover were greater in plots with stream water classified as their primary water source compared with plots with precipitation or groundwater as their primary water source. Soil water-filled pore space, inputs of nitrate, and soil net nitrification, P mineralization, and denitrification enzyme activity (DEA) were similar among plots. Soil ammonification, N mineralization, and N turnover rates increased with the loading rate of ammonium to the soil surface. Phosphorus mineralization and ammonification also increased with sedimentation and sediment-N loading rate. Nitrification flux and DEA were positively associated in these wetlands. In conclusion, hydrologic connectivity to stream water increased allochthonous inputs that stimulated soil N and P cycling and that likely led to greater retention of sediment and nutrients in created and natural wetlands. Our findings suggest that wetland creation and restoration projects should be designed to allow connectivity with stream water if the goal is to optimize the function of water quality improvement in a watershed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2012.0466DOI Listing
July 2013

Cascading ecological effects of low-level phosphorus enrichment in the Florida everglades.

J Environ Qual 2005 Mar-Apr;34(2):717-23

Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA.

Few studies have examined long-term ecological effects of sustained low-level nutrient enhancement on wetland biota. To determine sustained effects of phosphorus (P) addition on Everglades marshes we added P at low levels (5, 15, and 30 microg L(-1) above ambient) for 5 yr to triplicate 100-m flow-through channels in pristine marsh. A cascade of ecological responses occurred in similar sequence among treatments. Although the rate of change increased with dosing level, treatments converged to similar enriched endpoints, characterized most notably by a doubling of plant biomass and elimination of native, calcareous periphyton mats. The full sequence of biological changes occurred without an increase in water total P concentration, which remained near ambient levels until Year 5. This study indicates that Everglades marshes have a near-zero assimilative capacity for P without a state change, that ecosystem responses to enrichment accumulate over time, and that downstream P transport mainly occurs through biota rather than the water column.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2005.0717DOI Listing
July 2005

Decadal change in vegetation and soil phosphorus pattern across the Everglades landscape.

J Environ Qual 2003 Jan-Feb;32(1):344-62

Dep. of Biological Sciences, Florida International Univ., Miami, FL 33199, USA.

Wetlands respond to nutrient enrichment with characteristic increases in soil nutrients and shifts in plant community composition. These responses to eutrophication tend to be more rapid and longer lasting in oligotrophic systems. In this study, we documented changes associated with water quality from 1989 to 1999 in oligotrophic Everglades wetlands. We accomplished this by resampling soils and macrophytes along four transects in 1999 that were originally sampled in 1989. In addition to documenting soil phosphorus (P) levels and decadal changes in plant species composition at the same sites, we report macrophyte tissue nutrient and biomass data from 1999 for future temporal comparisons. Water quality improved throughout much of the Everglades in the 1990s. In spite of this improvement, though, we found that water quality impacts worsened during this time in areas of the northern Everglades (western Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge [NWR] and Water Conservation Area [WCA] 2A). Zones of high soil P (exceeding 700 mg P kg(-1) dry wt. soil) increased to more than 1 km from the western margin canal into the Loxahatchee NWR and more than 4 km from northern boundary canal into WCA-2A. This doubling of the high soil P zones since 1989 was paralleled with an expansion of cattail (Typha spp.)-dominated marsh in both regions. Macrophyte species richness declined in both areas from 1989 to 1999 (27% in the Loxahatchee NWR and 33% in WCA-2A). In contrast, areas well south of the Everglades Agricultural Area, induding WCA-3A and Everglades National Park (ENP), did not decline during this time. We found no significant decadal change in plant community patterns from 1989 and 1999 along transects in southern WCA-3A or Shark River Slough (ENP). Our 1999 sampling also included a new transect in Taylor Slough (ENP), which will allow change analysis here in the future. Regular sampling of these transects, to verify decadal-scale environmental impacts or improvements, will continue to be an important tool for long-term management and restoration of the Everglades.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2003.3440DOI Listing
April 2003
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