Towards climate-robust water quality management: Testing the efficacy of different eutrophication control measures during a heatwave in an urban canal
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Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan wetenschappelijk tijdschrift/periodieke uitgave › Artikel › Wetenschappelijk › peer review
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Harmful algal blooms are symptomatic of eutrophication and lead to deterioration of water quality and ecosystem services. Extreme climatic events could enhance eutrophication resulting in more severe nuisance algal blooms, while they also may hamper current restoration efforts aimed to reduce nutrient loads. Evaluation of restoration measures on their efficacy under climate change is essential for effective water management. We conducted a two-month mesocosm experiment in a hypertrophic urban canal focussing on the reduction of sediment phosphorus (P)-release. We tested the efficacy of four interventions, measuring phytoplankton biomass, nutrients in water and sediment. The measures included sediment dredging, water column aeration and application of P-sorbents (lanthanum-modified bentonite - Phoslock® and iron-lime sludge, a by-product from drinking water production). An extreme heatwave (with the highest daily maximum air temperature up to 40.7 °C) was recorded in the middle of our experiment. This extreme heatwave was used for the evaluation of heatwave-induced impacts. Dredging and lanthanum modified bentonite exhibited the largest efficacy in reducing phytoplankton and cyanobacteria biomass and improving water clarity, followed by iron-lime sludge, whereas aeration did not show an effect. The heatwave negatively impacted all four measures, with increased nutrient releases and consequently increased phytoplankton biomass and decreased water clarity compared to the pre-heatwave phase. We propose a conceptual model suggesting that the heatwave locks nutrients within the biological P loop, which is the exchange between labile P and organic P, while the P fraction in the chemical P loop will be decreased. As a consequence, the efficacy of chemical agents targeting P-reduction by chemical binding will be hampered by heatwaves. Our study indicates that current restoration measures might be challenged in a future with more frequent and intense heatwaves.