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Nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loads and trends measured at the Chesapeake Bay River Input Monitoring stations: Water years 1985-2020

September 22, 2021

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loads, and changes in loads, in major rivers across the Chesapeake Bay watershed have been calculated using monitoring data from the Chesapeake Bay River Input Monitoring (RIM) Network stations for the period 1985 through 2020. Nutrient and suspended-sediment loads and changes in loads were determined by applying a weighted regression approach called WRTDS (Weighted Regression on Time, Discharge, and Season). The load results represent the total mass of nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediment that was exported from each of the RIM watersheds and were estimated using the WRTDS method with Kalman filtering. To determine the trend in loads, the annual load results are flow normalized to integrate out the year-to-year variability in river discharge. The trend in load is derived from the flow-normalized load timeseries and represents the change in load resulting from changes in sources, delays associated with storage or transport of historical inputs, and (or) implemented management actions. Four data tables are provided that describe nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment conditions across the RIM: (1) Annual Loads, (2) Monthly Loads, (3) Trends in Annual Loads, and (4) Average Yield (mass per unit area). Additionally, essential WRTDS Input and Output files are provided.