A linked hydrodynamic and water quality model was developed and applied to the Salton Sea. The hydrodynamic component is based on the one-dimensional numerical model, DLM. The water quality model is based on a new conceptual model for nutrient cycling in the Sea, and simulates temperature, total suspended sediment concentration, nutrient concentrations, including PO4-3, NO3-1 and NH4+1, DO concentration and chlorophyll a concentration as functions of depth and time. Existing water temperature data from 1997 were used to verify that the model could accurately represent the onset and breakup of thermal stratification. 1999 is the only year with a near-complete dataset for water quality variables for the Salton Sea. The linked hydrodynamic and water quality model was run for 1999, and by adjustment of rate coefficients and other water quality parameters, a good match with the data was obtained. In this article, the model is fully described and the model results for reductions in external phosphorus load on chlorophyll a distribution are presented. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.