Tomales Bay and its adjacent watershed are the location of integrated research on the CNPSi biogeochemical coupling between the land and coastal ocean and cycling of these materials within the bay. In the present paper, budgets have been constructed to describe the rainfall delivery of dissolved nutrients to the watershed and export of dissolved and particulate nutrients from the watershed, mostly in runoff. The quantity of dissolved materials, especially dissolved organic materials, delivered to the watershed by rainfall is about the same as the export. Suspended load transport represents the major net removal of C, N, and P from the watershed, and this flux shows large interannual variation. Runoff adjusted particle flux from the watershed is small at present in comparison with estimates based on sedimentation rate in the bay over the past 130 years. This difference apparently cannot be explained by natural or managed interannual variation in runoff or by other obvious aspects of water management. We believe that changes in agricultural land use have led to recent decreases in erosion and removal of particulate materials from the watershed. Even though the watershed has been disturbed by agricultural practices over the past 130 years, the system as a whole appears largely to have recovered to steady-state conditions.
Journal of Hydrology – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 1996
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