Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Contributions of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary: Updated loading estimates

January 1, 2009

Based on the most recent and most accurate data available through 2008, the total load of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay‐Little Egg Harbor (BB‐LEH) estuary from the most substantial sources (surface water, including surface‐water discharge and direct storm runoff; ground‐water discharge; and atmospheric deposition) is estimated to be 650,000 kilograms of nitrogen per year (kg N/yr). Surface water contributes 66 percent (431,000 kg N/yr), direct ground‐ water discharge accounts for 12 percent (78,000 kg N/yr), and atmospheric deposition accounts for 22 percent (141,000 kg N/yr). This new loading estimate was compared to a previously published estimate produced by using similar methodology but less current data through 1997. Findings of the present study include a substantially lower estimate of atmospheric deposition of nitrogen to the estuary compared to the previous estimate. The study results also offer further support of the relation between land use and nitrogen levels, and indicate that the Toms and Metedeconk River basins account for more than 60 percent of the nitrogen load to the estuary from surface‐water discharge. Differences between the two estimates can be attributed to both the use of more accurate and more recent data in the revised estimate, and actual changes in the magnitude of nitrogen loads from various sources. Gaps in available water‐quality and hydrologic data are documented, and additional analysis and monitoring that may improve the reliability of future nitrogen loading estimates are presented.

Publication Year 2009
Title Contributions of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary: Updated loading estimates
Authors Christine M. Wieben, Ronald J. Baker
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70007521
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New Jersey Water Science Center