Annual stream-water loads were calculated near the outlet of four of the larger river basins (Susquehanna, St. Lawrence, Mississippi-Atchafalaya, and Columbia) in the United States for dissolved nitrite plus nitrate (NO2 + NO3) and total phosphorus using LOADEST load estimation software. Loads were estimated for the period 1968-2004; although loads estimated for individual river basins and chemical constituent combinations typically were for shorter time periods due to limitations in data availability. Stream discharge and water-quality data for load estimates were obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with additional stream discharge data for the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The loads were estimated to support national assessments of changes in stream nutrient loads that are periodically conducted by Federal agencies (for example, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and other water- and land-resource organizations. Data, methods, and results of load estimates are summarized herein; including World Wide Web links to electronic ASCII text files containing the raw data. The load estimates are compared to dissolved NO2 + NO3 loads for three of the large river basins from 1971 to 1998 that the USGS provided during 2001 to The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment (The Heinz Center) for a report The Heinz Center published during 2002. Differences in the load estimates are the result of using the most up-to-date monitoring data since the 2001 analysis, differences in how concentrations less than the reporting limit were handled by the load estimation models, and some errors and exclusions in the 2001 analysis datasets (which resulted in some inaccurate load estimates).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Annual dissolved nitrite plus nitrate and total phosphorous loads for the Susquehanna, St. Lawrence, Mississippi-Atchafalaya, and Columbia River basins, 1968-2004