Nutrient conditions and numeric nutrient criteria in southeastern United States estuaries
Wright, Wendy Kay
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The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) mandated in 2008 that all states, territories, and tribes develop a plan for determining numeric nutrient criteria (NNC), which are used to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and to restore nutrient-impaired ecosystems. NNC are important to the US National Park Service (USNPS) because maintaining healthy ecosystems is part of their goal for protecting and preserving National Parks. The goal of this research is to examine methods for determining appropriate coastal NNC near and within Georgia’s National Parks that lie in coastal areas, including Cumberland Island National Seashore, Fort Frederica National Monument, and Fort Pulaski National Monument. Methods are demonstrated using available nutrient and water-quality data from Federal, state, and local agencies that have water-quality monitoring programs. Statistical analyses are performed to determine baseline nutrient levels, estimate nutrient stressors on aquatic systems, and identify ecosystem responses to these stressors. Baseline nutrient levels are characterized both spatially and temporally.