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Determining Concentrations and Loads of Nitrate in the Atchfalaya River Using Continuous Monitoring, Project # DW14945923

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Project description: To generate data and information that will assist the Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Enrichment Focus Team in meeting their environmental goals and objectives of reducing the 5 year average and area extent of Gulf hypoxia to less than 5,000 square kilometers.

Study Objective: Quantify nitrate concentrations and loads in the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City, Louisiana.

Long Term Goal: Install several nitrate monitors in the Atchafalaya and Mississippi River system to understand nitrogen processing in the main stem, channels, and backswamps of the system.

Expected Benefit: Water quality monitors will allow researchers to better quantify the nitrate yield, and ultimately to predict the size of the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Results of Data: There is a cyclic 24-hour change in nitrate concentrations in the river. The change is small, about 0.1 û 0.2 milligrams per liter. Although not unexpected, such short-term changes have never been documented on the Atchafalaya. Previously, the shortest time interval was weekly samples, and monthly samples represent most of the long-term USGS database.

A partnership project of the Gulf of Mexico Program at Stennis Space Center, MS,?and the U.S. Geological Survey in Baton Rouge, LA.

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
228-688-3726
FAX: 228-688-2709


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