Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters

Neil D. Bettez, Jonathan Duncan, Peter M. Groffman, Lawrence E. Band, Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, Sujay S. Kaushal, Kenneth T. Belt, Neely Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We calculated watershed nitrogen (N) retention (inputs–outputs)/inputs) each year from 1999–2013 for nine sub-watersheds along an urban–rural gradient near Baltimore MD to determine how land use and climate influence watershed N flux. Retention is critical to efforts to control coastal eutrophication through regulatory efforts that mandate reductions in the total maximum daily load (TMDL) of N that specific water bodies can receive. Retention decreased with urbanization as well as with increases in precipitation with retention decreasing from an average of 91% in the forested sub-watershed to 16% in the most urban sub-watershed. Export was 23% higher, and retention was 7% lower in winter (November–April) than during the growing season. Total N delivery to Baltimore Harbor varied almost threefold between wet and dry years, which is significant relative to the total annual export allowed for all non-point sources to the harbor under the TMDL. These results suggest that expectations for TMDLs should consider watershed land use and climate variability, and their potential for change if they are to result in improvements in receiving water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1319-1331
Number of pages13
JournalEcosystems
Volume18
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

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climate variation
Watersheds
coastal water
Nitrogen
total maximum daily load
watershed
climate
Water
nitrogen
Ports and harbors
Land use
harbor
land use
Eutrophication
urbanization
eutrophication
body water
Water quality
growing season
water quality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology

Cite this

Bettez, N. D., Duncan, J., Groffman, P. M., Band, L. E., O’Neil-Dunne, J., Kaushal, S. S., ... Law, N. (2015). Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters. Ecosystems, 18(8), 1319-1331. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-015-9902-9
Bettez, Neil D. ; Duncan, Jonathan ; Groffman, Peter M. ; Band, Lawrence E. ; O’Neil-Dunne, Jarlath ; Kaushal, Sujay S. ; Belt, Kenneth T. ; Law, Neely. / Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters. In: Ecosystems. 2015 ; Vol. 18, No. 8. pp. 1319-1331.
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Bettez, ND, Duncan, J, Groffman, PM, Band, LE, O’Neil-Dunne, J, Kaushal, SS, Belt, KT & Law, N 2015, 'Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters', Ecosystems, vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 1319-1331. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-015-9902-9

Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters. / Bettez, Neil D.; Duncan, Jonathan; Groffman, Peter M.; Band, Lawrence E.; O’Neil-Dunne, Jarlath; Kaushal, Sujay S.; Belt, Kenneth T.; Law, Neely.

In: Ecosystems, Vol. 18, No. 8, 01.12.2015, p. 1319-1331.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Bettez ND, Duncan J, Groffman PM, Band LE, O’Neil-Dunne J, Kaushal SS et al. Climate Variation Overwhelms Efforts to Reduce Nitrogen Delivery to Coastal Waters. Ecosystems. 2015 Dec 1;18(8):1319-1331. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10021-015-9902-9