Fact Sheet Summarizes Nutrient Trends and Drivers in the Chesapeake Watershed

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Issue: Trends in nitrogen and phosphorus, and the complex factors affecting their change, provide important insights into the effectiveness of efforts to reduce nutrients from reaching the tidal waters of the Bay. The nutrient reductions are needed to improve water-quality conditions in the tidal waters for fisheries and submerged aquatic vegetation.

USGS Study: The USGS wanted to translate the complex science on nutrient trends and their drivers into an understandable and concise document for higher-level managers and policy makers. The USGS formed a partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Integration and Application Network (UMCES-IAN) and the Chesapeake Bay Program office to produce the fact sheet.

Major findings: The 4-page fact sheet provides:

  • New visualizations of the nitrogen and phosphorus trends in the watershed (2009-2018).
  • Summaries of the drivers affecting nutrient change, including wastewater and atmospheric improvements; land-use change in urban areas, nutrient applications in agricultural watersheds, and effects of climate change.
  • An overview of challenges for effective management of nutrients from nonpoint sources, which include insufficient monitoring, travel time, competing factors, ad unrealistic expectations.

Management Applications: The fact sheet will help higher-level managers and policy makers understand the complex science of water-quality restoration, and inform efforts to have nutrient-reduction practices in place by 2025.

For more information:

 

Contact Ken Hyer (kenhyer@usgs.gov) or Scott Phillips (swphilli@usgs.gov).

Conceptual diagram illustrating some of the complex factors affecting nutrient trends in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Conceptual diagram illustrating some of the complex factors affecting nutrient trends in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Posted January 26, 2021

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