The nature of sediments in abandoned channels is an important component of their development as floodplain wetlands. The texture, organic matter, phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen content of sediments were determined for abandoned channels along the Iowa and Cedar Rivers near their confluence in Iowa. Differences in the levels of these constituents were examined among categories of three landscape gradients: present connectivity to the river, time since abandonment, and proximity to agricultural land use. Local scale processes of ecological development are seen in the importance of time for increased organic matter and nitrogen. Basin scale processes of sediment transport and deposition are revealed by the importance of connectivity for decreases in these two elements, and by the counter-intuitive findings for nitrogen and especially phosphorous and potassium in relation to agricultural proximity. Location on a floodplain is important for differentiating development, but it cannot be reduced to univariate gradients.
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