thumbnail

Estimates of nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology

Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5160

By:
https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175160

Links

Abstract

The water quality of the Chesapeake Bay may be adversely affected by dissolved nitrate carried in groundwater discharge to streams. To estimate the concentrations, loads, and yields of nitrate from groundwater to streams for the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a regression model was developed based on measured nitrate concentrations from 156 small streams with watersheds less than 500 square miles (mi2 ) at baseflow. The regression model has three predictive variables: geologic unit, percent developed land, and percent agricultural land. Comparisons of estimated and actual values within geologic units were closely matched. The coefficient of determination (R2 ) for the model was 0.6906. The model was used to calculate baseflow nitrate concentrations at over 83,000 National Hydrography Dataset Plus Version 2 catchments and aggregated to 1,966 total 12-digit hydrologic units in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The modeled output geospatial data layers provided estimated annual loads and yields of nitrate from groundwater into streams. The spatial distribution of annual nitrate yields from groundwater estimated by this method was compared to the total watershed yields of all sources estimated from a Chesapeake Bay SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) water-quality model. The comparison showed similar spatial patterns. The regression model for groundwater contribution had similar but lower yields, suggesting that groundwater is an important source of nitrogen for streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Suggested Citation

Terziotti, Silvia, Capel, P.D., Tesoriero, A.J., Hopple, J.A., and Kronholm, S.C., 2017, Estimates of nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017–5160, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20175160.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Study Area
  • Methods
  • Results of Estimated Nitrate Loads and Yields From Groundwater to Streams
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments 
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Estimates of nitrate loads and yields from groundwater to streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed based on land use and geology
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2017-5160
DOI:
10.3133/sir20175160
Year Published:
2018
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description:
Report: iv, 20 p.; Data Release
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Chesapeake Bay watershed
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N