Science-Based Strategies for Optimizing Nitrogen Reduction in Northeast U.S. Estuaries

Sunday, February 19, 2017: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 310 (Hynes Convention Center)
Coastal and estuary eutrophication from excessive nutrient (primarily nitrogen) loading is a global problem. Scientifically informed management actions have begun to decrease nitrogen loading in some Northeast U.S. estuaries and may provide a roadmap for other systems. Eutrophication can have many undesirable environmental consequences, including lowered oxygen levels and harmful algal blooms. Further progress towards solving this problem may require substantial public investments in wastewater treatment, as well as additional nitrogen reduction strategies to address nonpoint and stormwater runoff. To achieve this, the public should understand the important ecosystem services provided by a healthy and vibrant estuary, such that tradeoffs associated with the costs of restoration and protection can be fully evaluated. There is also a critical need for a better understanding of the ecological endpoints of various nutrient-loading scenarios, as well as potential ecosystem recovery trajectories. Better information on nitrogen and phosphorus cycling is required, as well as the impacts of current and future climate change on physical and biogeochemical processes. This session discusses improvements in long-term monitoring -- including automated observing systems and improved models -- which will provide better scrutiny of affected systems and facilitate future scenario planning and adaptive management.
James Ammerman, Long Island Sound Study
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