Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Vegetation changes and partitioning of selenium in 4-year-old constructed wetlands treating agricultural drainage.

Abstract

The knowledge of selenium (Se) partitioning in treatment wetlands and wetland vegetation management are essential for long-term effective operation of constructed wetlands treating Se-laden agricultural tile-drainage in central California. In this field study, samples from different compartments of treatment wetlands were collected and the vegetation change in each wetland cell was examined four years after the wetland's inception. The results showed that saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) and rabbitfoot grass (Polypogon monspeliensis) were less competitive than cattail (Typha latifolia) and saltmarsh bulrush (Scirpus robustus). Over 90% of the wetland cell originally vegetated with saltgrass or rabbitfoot grass was occupied by invasive plants - i.e., when invasive species were not controlled in the wetlands. More Se was likely found in sediments from vegetated regions, compared to the unvegetated areas of the wetland cell. Particularly, rhizosphere sediments accumulated about 4-fold more Se than non-rhizosphere sediments. Among the total Se retained in the wetland, 90% of the total Se was partitioned in the top 10-cm layer of sediment. The Se accumulation in plant materials accounted for about 2% of the total Se mass retained in each wetland cell. This field study demonstrated that wetland plants play significant roles in the treatment of Se-laden agricultural drainage.