Continuous Monitoring for Nutrients: State of the Technology & Science
Making water quality measurements that capture rapid changes due to storms and other events has long been a challenge for accurately measuring the sources, loads and cycling of nutrients in lakes, rivers and streams. However, advances in situ sensor technology and communications over the last 10 years has revolutionized the way water quality monitoring and research can be conducted. In particular, in situ optical sensor measurements for nutrients such as nitrate and orthophosphate are yielding significant insights into the sources and timing of nutrient transport, as well as real-time data for decision support. This talk presents the state of the technology for continuous monitoring of nutrients in rivers and streams and several examples from USGS studies that highlight the opportunities, challenges and importance of making comparable, high quality measurements in our Nation's waterways.