thumbnail

Nutrient concentrations and yields in undeveloped stream basins of the United States

Journal of the American Water Resources Association

By:
, , and

Links

  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS

Abstract

Data from 85 sites across the United States were used to estimate concentrations and yields of selected nutrients in streams draining relatively undeveloped basins. Flow-weighted concentrations during 1990-1995 were generally low with median basin concentrations of 0.020, 0.087, 0.26, 0.010, and 0.022 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for ammonia as N, nitrate as N, total nitrogen, orthophosphate as P, and total phosphorus, respectively. The flow-weighted concentration of nitrate exceeded 0.6 mg/L in only three basins. Total nitrogen exceeded 1 mg/L in only four basins, and total phosphorus exceeded 0.1 mg/L in only four basins. The median annual basin yield of ammonia as N, nitrate as N, total nitrogen, orthophosphate as P, and total phosphorus was 8.1, 26, 86, 2.8, and 8.5 kilograms per square kilometer, respectively. Concentrations and yields of nitrate tended to be highest in northeastern and mid-Atlantic coastal states and correlated well with areas of high atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Concentrations and yields of total nitrogen were highest in the southeastern part of the nation and in parts of the upper Midwest. In the northeast, nitrate was generally the predominant form of nitrogen, and in the southeast and parts of the upper Midwest, organic nitrogen was the dominant form. Concentrations of total phosphorus were generally highest in the Rocky Mountain and Central Plain states.Data from 85 sites across the United States were used to estimate concentrations and yields of selected nutrients in streams draining relatively undeveloped basins. Flow-weighted concentrations during 1990-1995 were generally low with median basin concentrations of 0.020, 0.087, 0.26, 0.010, and 0.022 milligrams per liter (mg/L) for ammonia as N, nitrate as N, total nitrogen, orthophosphate as P, and total phosphorus, respectively. The flow-weighted concentration of nitrate exceeded 0.6 mg/L in only three basins, Total nitrogen exceeded 1 mg/L in only four basins, and total phosphorus exceeded 0.1 mg/L in only four basins. The median annual basin yield of ammonia as N, nitrate as N, total nitrogen, orthophosphate as P, and total phosphorus was 8.1, 26, 86, 2.8, and 8.5 kilograms per square kilometer, respectively. Concentrations and yields of nitrate tended to be highest in northeastern and mid-Atlantic coastal states and correlated well with areas of high atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Concentrations and yields of total nitrogen were highest in the southeastern part of the nation and in parts of the upper Midwest. In the northeast, nitrate was generally the predominant form of nitrogen, and in the southeast and parts of the upper Midwest, organic nitrogen was the dominant form. Concentrations of total phosphorus were generally highest in the Rocky Mountain and Central Plain states.Data collected across the US from 85 streams draining relatively undeveloped basins were used to identify broad regional and national patterns in nutrient concentrations and yields. The basins of interest were selected from three USGS programs: the Hydrologic Benchmark Network, the National Water-Quality Assessment, and the Research Program. Water samples from most basins were collected on a weekly to bimonthly schedule. While the flow-weighted concentrations of nutrients varied, concentrations were low in most basins. Median flow-weighted concentrations of ammonia, nitrate, total nitrogen, orthophosphate, and total phosphorus were 0.020, 0.087, 0.26, 0.010, and 0.022 mg/l, respectively. Nitrate concentrations tended to be highest in the northeastern US, while southeastern and north-central basins had some of the highest NH3 concentrations. Flow-weighted concentrations of total P were generally highest in the Rocky Mountain and Central Plain states and in parts of the southeast.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Nutrient concentrations and yields in undeveloped stream basins of the United States
Series title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
Volume
36
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2000
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Water Resources Assoc
Publisher location:
Herndon, VA, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of the American Water Resources Association
First page:
849
Last page:
867
Number of Pages:
19