State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008NY103B
Title: Multimedia modeling of regional variation of nitrogen sources in the Hudson River Watershed
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 22
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Nutrients, Models
Keywords: Land use changes, atmospheric deposition of N, climate change, modeling
Principal Investigator: Howarth, Robert
Federal Funds: $ 19,999
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 25,100
Abstract: The Hudson watershed is subject to changes in land use and in atmospheric deposition of nitrogen, but the details of controls on nutrient loads to the estuary are complex. Hydrological and biogeochemical processes are further complicated by regional weather and climate change. Understanding how these processes affect the magnitude and transformations of the nutrient loads is necessary to manage the environmental resources of the region. It is critical for those living in the watershed to understand the impacts of their activities and policies on these nutrient loads. Modeling tools that integrate the patterns of atmospheric deposition and other sources and landscape processes can improve our ability to manage and communicate the effects of human activities and environmental processes on nutrient loads. A recent report of the National Academy of Science's Committee on Causes and Management of Coastal Eutrophication noted that most models used by watershed and estuarine managers fail to deal adequately with nitrogen deposition onto the landscape with subsequent export downstream, even though this is the dominant input of nitrogen to many estuaries. ReNuMa, a relatively simple tool for estimating the contributions of nitrogen from human activities in Hudson watersheds will be modified to use state-of-the-art atmospheric deposition estimates for use in environmental management and research. We plan to use this tool to examine the joint effect of climate and land use change on biogeochemical processes and nutrient dynamics within the Hudson watershed, and specifically to evaluate relative significance of distant, regional and local nitrogen sources on changes to loads in the Hudson estuary.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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