Developing Numeric Nutrient Criteria for Streams on the Delmarva Peninsula
Tempinson, Lindsay Ayn
Fisher, Thomas R.
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To better address stream impairments due to excess nitrogen and phosphorus and to accomplish the goals of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring states to develop numeric nutrient criteria. An assessment of nutrient concentrations in streams on the Delmarva Peninsula showed that nutrient levels are mostly higher than numeric criteria derived by EPA for the Eastern Coastal Plain, indicating widespread water quality degradation. Here, various approaches were used to derive numeric nutrient criteria from a set of 52 streams sampled across Delmarva. Results of the percentile and y-intercept methods were similar to those obtained elsewhere. Downstream protection values show that if numeric nutrient criteria were implemented for Delmarva streams they would be protective of the Choptank River Estuary, meeting the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).