USGS updates trends for nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

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Issue: The Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) nontidal network (NTN) consists of more than 100 stations throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Monitoring of nutrients, sediment, and flow is conducted to provide estimates of loads and trends in the watershed. The CBP uses the results to focus restoration strategies and track progress towards meeting nutrients and suspended-sediment reduction goals.

Alyssa Thornton

Alyssa Thornton (USGS VA-WV WSC) collecting a water-quality sample from the James River at Cartersville, VA using a DH-2 sampler. 

(Credit: Chelsea Delsack with USGS VA-WV WSC. September 21, 2018. Public domain.)

USGS study: Changes in nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loads have been calculated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) using monitoring data from the NTN stations. Constituent loads are calculated with at least 5 years of monitoring data, and trends are reported after at least 10 years of data collection. The update is for water years 2009 through 2018.

Primary findings:

  • For nitrogen loads: 41 percent of the NTN stations are improving, whereas 40 percent are degrading, and the remaining 19 percent have no trend.
  • For phosphorus loads: 44 percent of the NTN stations are improving, whereas one-third are degrading, and the remainder are showing no trend.
  • For suspended-sediment loads: 20 percent of the NTN stations are improving, whereas 42 percent are degrading, and the remainder are showing no trend.
Map showing total nitrogen per acre loads and trends in loads, 2009-18, for selected monitoring stations.

Map showing total nitrogen per acre loads and trends in loads, 2009-18, for selected monitoring stations.

Find more information:

The NTN is a partnership among the governments of the States in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the USGS; and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. More information on the loads and trends in the watershed and their supporting methods can be found at https://cbrim.er.usgs.gov/.

Summary of the loads and trends at the NTN stations for water years 2009 through 2018    NEW→ StoryMap
Information on the loads and trends from the River Input Monitoring (RIM) stations
USGS reports explaining loads and trends

 

For more information, contact Doug Moyer at dlmoyer@usgs.gov.
Posted March 13, 2020; Updated August 4, 2020

 

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