Seasonal Dynamics of Physico-chemical Characteristics in Wetlands of Northern Region (Ghana): Implications on the Functional Status

Document Type: Primary Research paper

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Abstract

Seasonal variations of 11 water quality, namely; pH, TDS, Conductivity, Turbidity, surface water temperature, DO, NH3, PO4, NO3-N, Ca2+ and Mg2+, were assessed in six wetlands, in the dry (December - April) and wet (July–October) seasons for two years, using standard APHA Four major environmental disturbances (farming activities, bushfires, grazing activity, illegal fishing methods) were quantified using Battisti and Salafsky models. Although physical parameters values showed an increase in the dry season compared to the wet season, they were not statistically significant (p>0.05). However, hydro-chemical parameters showed significant seasonal variations (p< 0.05). With the exception of NH3 that was in far excess of the required levels acceptable for aquatic life, in Nabogo and Bunglung sites, the remaining hydro-chemical variables were at tolerable levels necessary for aquatic life. Elevated levels of NH3 and turbidity in these sites were linked to surface run-off from nearby agricultural fields, while turbidity levels showed appreciable levels in Kukobila (395±2.7 NTU) in the wet seasons, compared with the remaining sites. DO levels were lower beyond acceptable limit and partly influenced by surface water temperature. Our results revealed that farming practices and bushfires directly influenced water quality. Consequently, wetlands functional status could degrade further in the near future if current disturbances intensify. Thus managers of wetlands could institute conservation measures, in order to curb future disturbances and enhance.

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