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Research Projects

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

NGCRP Contribution to the Project

Predicting the impacts of increasing atmospheric nitrogen deposition on forest production, water yield and nitrogen leaching losses in the Chesapeake Basin

This research will model and analyze the effects of atmospherically deposited nitrogen on the Chesapeake Bay watershed basin using spatially explicit process models with high specificity for forested watershed processes in the Northeast. It will address the Chesapeake Bay Program research priority for predicting the retention of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on forested watersheds on a site specific and on a regional basis. It utilizes model enhanced, high resolution, wet N deposition and precipitation data to forests based on NADP/NTN data (Penn State Univ.).

Forests make up 60% of the Chesapeake Bay Basin, the largest land use classification, a total of 24.5 million acres. To be effective in selecting management options, it is necessary to have accurate estimates of nitrogen input to forested watersheds, retention by forest processes, and loss from forested watersheds.

This research will provide estimates of nitrogen outputs from forested watersheds of different forest types, using scenarios of N deposition, precipitation, climate change and forest management within the Chesapeake Bay watershed region. Forest inventory databases (FIA) from the USDA Forest Service, and watershed gauging stations and water chemistry analysis from USGS and USDA FS sites will provide independent validation of model outputs.


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