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      Long-term trends, current status, and transitions of water quality in Chesapeake Bay

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          Abstract

          Coincident climatic and human effects strongly influence water-quality properties in estuarine-coastal ecosystems around the world. Time-series data for a number of ecosystems reveal high spatio-temporal variability superimposed on secular trends traceable to nutrient over-enrichment. In this paper, we present new analyses of long-term data for Chesapeake Bay directed at several goals: (1) to distinguish trends from spatio-temporal variability imposed by climatic effects; (2) to assess long-term trends of water-quality properties reflecting degradation and recovery; (3) to propose numerical water-quality criteria as targets for restoration; (4) to assess progress toward attainment of these targets. The bay has experienced multiple impairments associated with nutrient over-enrichment since World War II, e.g., low dissolved oxygen (DO), decreased water clarity, and harmful algal blooms (HAB). Anthropogenic eutrophication has been expressed as increased chlorophyll -a ( chl-a) driven by accelerated nutrient loading from 1945 to 1980. Management intervention led to decreased loading thereafter, but deleterious symptoms of excess nutrients persist. Climatic effects exemplified by irregular “dry” and “wet” periods in the last 30+ years largely explain high inter-annual variability of water-quality properties, requiring adjustments to resolve long-term trends. Here, we extend these analyses at a finer temporal scale to six decades of chl-a, Secchi depth, and nitrite plus nitrate (NO 2 + NO 3) data to support trend analyses and the development of numerical water-quality criteria. The proposed criteria build on a conceptual model emphasizing the need to distinguish climatic and human effects in gauging progress to reverse eutrophication in estuarine-coastal ecosystems.

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          Most cited references41

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              Eutrophication of Chesapeake Bay: historical trends and ecological interactions

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                lharding@atmos.ucla.edu
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                30 April 2019
                30 April 2019
                2019
                : 9
                : 6709
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9632 6718, GRID grid.19006.3e, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, , University of California, Los Angeles, ; Los Angeles, California 90095 United States
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2146 2763, GRID grid.418698.a, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, , United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program Office, ; 410 Severn Avenue, Annapolis, Maryland 21403 United States
                [3 ]Statistics Consultant, 377 Resolutions Rd., Colonial Beach, Virginia, 22443 United States
                [4 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0591 0193, GRID grid.89170.37, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Ave., SW, ; Washington, DC 20375 United States
                [5 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0484 1579, GRID grid.260185.8, Department of Biology, , Monmouth University, ; West Long Branch, NJ 07764 United States
                [6 ]ISNI 0000 0000 8612 0361, GRID grid.419533.9, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, ; 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, Maryland 21037 United States
                [7 ]ISNI 0000000122483208, GRID grid.10698.36, Institute of Marine Sciences, , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ; 3431 Arendell Street, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557 United States
                Article
                43036
                10.1038/s41598-019-43036-6
                6491606
                31040300
                d9260201-8ebd-426f-8fdc-29cc86f8cd04
                © The Author(s) 2019

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                History
                : 29 June 2018
                : 15 April 2019
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                © The Author(s) 2019

                Uncategorized
                ecology,ocean sciences
                Uncategorized
                ecology, ocean sciences

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