Landscape level controls on nitrate-nitrogen in forested and chaparral catchments of Southern California

Thomas Meixner, Mark Fenn, Mark Poth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The water samples from Devil Canyon watershed in the semiarid Southern California with varying Nitrate concentrations were examined to investigate the landscape scale dynamics of biochemical and hydrological processes that controls nitrate export from the semiarid forested catchments with elevated N deposition. Nitrate in the catchments enters the stream through the flushing of winter rains and its concentrations are induced by the mass dilution. The nitrate in the water is dominated by groundwater seeping to the surface and its concentrations remain high throughout the season. The nitrate and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations of water increases as the stream flow increases. The concept of a denitrification control on stream nitrate and DOC concentration as a result from longitudinal surveys and mass balance analysis indicated plant uptake and riparian zone, rather than a mass dilution process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-75
Number of pages3
JournalReport - University of California Water Resources Center
Issue number103
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Basin hydrology
  • Biogeochemical processes of nitrogen
  • San Bernardino mountains
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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