The US Geological Survey has introduced an online tracking tool for nutrient enrichment of the nation’s streams, lakes, and estuaries.
Widespread nutrient enrichment can contribute to harmful algal blooms, increasing costs for drinking water and causing declines in ecosystem health.
Maps and tables describing the major sources and watershed inputs of nutrients to the Great Lakes and estuaries along the Atlantic coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest are now available. The maps and tables highlight the major sources of nutrients and the areas within a watershed that contribute the largest amounts of nutrients to 115 estuaries along the coastal areas and from 160 watersheds draining into the Great Lakes.
Water resource managers interested in a particular stream or estuary can use the online, interactive decision support tool to estimate how changes in nutrient inputs (source, type, and amount) affect nutrient loads at a downstream location.
These maps and data tables were produced using the USGS Spatially Referenced Regressions on Watershed Attributes (SPARROW) nutrient models to explain spatial patterns in stream nutrient loads in relation to human nutrient inputs and natural processes and sources.
Photo: eutrophication&hypoxia Flickr photostream