The water quality of the Chesapeake Bay may be adversely affected by dissolved nitrate carried in groundwater discharge to streams. To estimate the concentrations, loads, and yields of nitrate from groundwater to streams for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a regression model was developed based on measured nitrate concentrations from 156 small streams with watersheds less than 500 square miles (mi2 ) at baseflow. The regression model has three predictive variables: geologic unit, percent developed land, and percent agricultural land. Comparisons of estimated and actual values within geologic units were closely matched. The coefficient of determination (R2 ) for the model was 0.6906. The model was used to calculate baseflow nitrate concentrations at over 83,000 National Hydrography Dataset Plus Version 2 catchments and aggregated to 1,966 total 12-digit hydrologic units in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The modeled output geospatial data layers provided estimated annual loads and yields of nitrate from groundwater into streams. The spatial distribution of annual nitrate yields from groundwater estimated by this method was compared to the total watershed yields of all sources estimated from a Chesapeake Bay SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) water-quality model. The comparison showed similar spatial patterns. The regression model for groundwater contribution had similar but lower yields, suggesting that groundwater is an important source of nitrogen for streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
|Title||Estimates of nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology|
|Authors||Silvia Terziotti, Paul D. Capel, Anthony J. Tesoriero, Jessica A. Hopple, Scott C. Kronholm|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||South Atlantic Water Science Center|