Nutrient enrichment from atmospheric deposition, agricultural activities, wildlife, and domestic sources is a concern at Acadia National Park because of the potential problem of water-quality degradation and eutrophication in estuaries. Water-quality degradation has been observed at the park's Bass Harbor Marsh estuary but minimal degradation is observed in Northeast Creek estuary. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have estimated nutrient inputs to estuaries from atmospheric deposition and surface-water runoff, and have identified shallow groundwater as an additional potential nutrient source. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have assumed that a certain fraction of the nitrogen input was removed through microbial denitrification, but rates of denitrification (natural or maximum potential) in marsh soils have not been determined. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Acadia National Park, measured in situ denitrification rates in marsh soils in Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds during the summer seasons of 2008 and 2009. Denitrification was measured under ambient conditions and following inorganic nitrogen and glucose additions. Laboratory incubations of marsh soils with and without acetylene were conducted to determine average ratios of nitrous oxide (N2O) to nitrogen (N2) produced during denitrification. Surface water and groundwater samples were analyzed for nutrients, specific conductance, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Water level was recorded continuously during the growing season in Fresh Meadow Marsh in the Northeast Creek Watershed.
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USGS Numbered Series
Denitrification rates in marsh soils and hydrologic and water quality data for Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds, Mount Desert Island, Maine