Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Suspended-Sediment Loads and Trends measured in Nine Chesapeake Bay Tributaries: Water Years 1985-2015

July 7, 2016

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loads, and changes in loads, in rivers across the Chesapeake Bay watershed have been calculated using monitoring data from the nine Chesapeake Bay River Input Monitoring (RIM) stations for the period 1985 through 2015. 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 nine RIM watersheds. When summed, the loads from the nine RIM stations represents the total load delivered from nearly eighty-percent of the bay watershed. 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.