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Evaluating the variability of sediment and nutrient loading from riverine systems into Texas estuaries and bays

Fact Sheet 2011-3036

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Abstract

The water quality in estuaries and bays and the health of these coastal ecosystems are affected by sediment and nutrient loads transported by streams. Large sediment loads delivered to an estuary or bay can degrade water quality. Concentrations of suspended sediment are affected by natural conditions (such as soil erosion and streambed resuspension) and can also be affected by human activities (such as development, timber harvesting, certain agricultural practices, and hydraulic alteration). An increased sediment load delivered to an estuary or bay can reduce water clarity and light penetration (Senus and others, 2005) in the water column. Senus and others (2005, p. 1) also note that nutrients are needed to sustain life, but excess nutrient loads from human activities may cause unbalanced and unhealthy changes in water quality that are harmful to aquatic organisms. Nitrogen and phosphorus are two known nutrients of concern. Poor water quality caused by an abundance of these nutrients can stimulate the excessive growth of phytoplankton, promote algal blooms, reduce dissolved oxygen levels, and cause fish kills.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Evaluating the variability of sediment and nutrient loading from riverine systems into Texas estuaries and bays
Series title:
Fact Sheet
Series number:
2011-3036
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, Virginia
Contributing office(s):
Texas Water Science Center
Description:
4 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Texas
Other Geospatial:
Trinity River and San Jacinto River, Colorado River
Scale:
24000
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N