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Effective phosphorous reduction by a riparian plant buffer zone enhanced with a limestone-based barrier

Frątczak, Wojciech, Michalska-Hejduk, Dorota, Zalewski, Maciej, Izydorczyk, Katarzyna
Ecological engineering 2019 v.130 pp. 94-100
Glyceria maxima, Phragmites australis, Schoenoplectus lacustris, ecological succession, groundwater, nonpoint source pollution, phosphorus, plant communities, planting, pollution control, rural areas, shorelines, species diversity, Poland
This paper presents a pilot study meant to reduce phosphorous (P) inflow into the Sulejów Reservoir (Poland) by constructing a riparian plant buffer zone enhanced with a limestone-based barrier along the reservoir shoreline. The location was characterized by high P contamination of shallow groundwater (with influent P-PO4 concentration ranging between 0.62 and 4.1 mg P/L and DP varying between 0.68 and 9.42 mg P/L). Firstly, we constructed a limestone-based barrier across the mount of a periodically flowing stream and tested its effectiveness at P removal over a period of 3.5 years. P-PO4 and DP removal effectiveness rates were found to be variable, increasing with influent concentration, but overall long-term average effectiveness was similar for P-PO4 and DP removal, at 12.4% and 13.0%, respectively. Secondly, we also planted six selected plant species along the shoreline and observed their natural ecological succession over the same period. Higher P uptake was observed for Schoenoplectus lacustris and Glyceria maxima one year after planting, whereas Phragmites australis needed three years to root. Furthermore, the species composition of the plant community increased from 17 to 34 species. Overall, the study provides an example of how the phosphorus recovery-and-reuse approach should be considered in improving measures for the reduction of diffuse pollution from rural areas, especially in terms of the development of nature-based solutions.