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Keywords:

  • nutrients;
  • transport and fate;
  • stochastic models;
  • nitrogen;
  • phosphorus;
  • SPARROW

Moore, Richard B., Craig M. Johnston, Richard A. Smith, and Bryan Milstead, 2011. Source and Delivery of Nutrients to Receiving Waters in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic Regions of the United States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 47(5):965-990. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00582.x

Abstract:  This study investigates nutrient sources and transport to receiving waters, in order to provide spatially detailed information to aid water-resources managers concerned with eutrophication and nutrient management strategies. SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) nutrient models were developed for the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic (NE US) regions of the United States to represent source conditions for the year 2002. The model developed to examine the source and delivery of nitrogen to the estuaries of nine large rivers along the NE US Seaboard indicated that agricultural sources contribute the largest percentage (37%) of the total nitrogen load delivered to the estuaries. Point sources account for 28% while atmospheric deposition accounts for 20%. A second SPARROW model was used to examine the sources and delivery of phosphorus to lakes and reservoirs throughout the NE US. The greatest attenuation of phosphorus occurred in lakes that were large relative to the size of their watershed. Model results show that, within the NE US, aquatic decay of nutrients is quite limited on an annual basis and that we especially cannot rely on natural attenuation to remove nutrients within the larger rivers nor within lakes with large watersheds relative to the size of the lake.