This dataset reports the pre-treatment hydrology and pre- and post-treatment water quality data from a watershed-scale experiment that is evaluating the effects of growing short-rotation loblolly pine for bioenergy on water quality and quantity in the southeastern U.S. The experiment is taking place on the Savannah River Site, near New Ellenton, South Carolina, USA. Beginning in 2010, water quality and hydrology were measured for two years in 3 watersheds (R, B, C). At the end of February 2012, 40% of two treatment watersheds (B, C) were harvested and loblolly pine seedlings were planted and managed for bioenergy (including multiple applications of herbicides and fertilizers). Water samples were collected from stream water (weekly), riparian groundwater (monthly), groundwater beneath the uplands (monthly), throughfall (weekly), and trenches that collected shallow subsurface flow (during storms), and these data are available for the pre- and post-treatment periods. Water samples were also collected from three concentrated flow tracks that formed in watersheds B and C in the post-treatment period. Water samples were analyzed for nitrate-N, ammonium-N, soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations. Stream water samples only were analyzed for total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations, and select samples (usually collected seasonally) were analyzed for pesticide concentrations. Water samples were also analyzed for stable isotopes of nitrate (δ15N, δ18O), and these data are available for the pre-treatment period. Stream flow and trench flow were measured every 10-15 minutes, and these data are available for the pre-treatment period.
The pre-treatment data were presented in a manuscript (Griffiths et al. 2016) that utilized stable isotope of nitrate data to describe hydrological and biological drivers of watershed N cycling and sources of stream water nitrate in the 3 study watersheds. Both the pre-treatment and post-treatment water quality data were presented in a manuscript (Griffiths et al. 2017) that examined the water quality responses to short-rotation pine production for bioenergy.
Griffiths, N.A., C.R. Jackson, J.J. McDonnell, J. Klaus, E. Du, and M.M. Bitew. 2016. Dual nitrate isotopes clarify the role of biological processing and hydrologic flowpaths on nitrogen cycling in subtropical low-gradient watersheds. JGR-Biogeosciences 131:422-437.
Griffiths, N.A., C.R. Jackson, M.M. Bitew, A.M. Fortner, K.L. Fouts, K. McCracken, and J.R. Phillips. 2017. Water quality effects of short-rotation pine management for bioenergy feedstocks in the southeastern United States. Forest Ecology and Management 400:181-198.
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the US Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725.