Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Alexia Rodriguez, University of Minnesota

Class Year: 

Project Title: 

Mass Balance Budget of Nitrogen in Tidal Creeks of the Patuxent River

Continuing poor water quality and high nutrient loading promoted the establishment of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and the development of Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs). Calvert County, MD is expected to allocate $1.2 billion by 2025 in restoring the watershed. Awareness of the sources of excess nitrogen is a critical factor in establishing an appropriate management practice. We sampled water from Hellen Creek, St. Leonard Creek, and Island Creek of the lower Patuxent River and filtered for nutrients. Nitrogen box models were developed for the creeks to determine their greatest input of nitrogen. It was found that during the month of July the greatest input of nitrogen to these tidal creeks is from the Patuxent River. The nitrogen loading for Hellen Creek and Island Creek from the Patuxent were 10 kg/day and 6 kg/day, respectively. These data reflect the behavior of the system in the summer month however they may not correctly reflect the behavior during other months.