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Nutrients in bottom sediments
of the Neuse River Estuary
after the flood from Hurricane Floyd

P. Kalla, J. Hyland, L. Balthis, J. Thomason,
C. Cooksey, K. McMahon, M. Greene,
J. Daugomah, and L. Eaton

[ Results and Conclusions | More About the Authors ]


P. Kalla and J. Thomason
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 4, Science and Ecosystem Support Division, Athens, GA

J. Hyland, L. Balthis, and C. Cooksey
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Ocean Service(NOS)
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science(NCCOS)
Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (CCMA), Charleston, SC

K. McMahon
NOAA, NOS, NCCOS, CCMA, Silver Spring, MD

M. Greene
NOAA, NOS, NCCOS, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Reasearch, Beaufort, NC

J. Daugomah
Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, Charleston, SC

L. Eaton
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Division of Water Quality, Raleigh, NC

Results and Conclusions

As part of a larger assessment of the impact of hurricane Floyd on the estuary of the Neuse River and adjacent waters of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, we sampled the top 2 cm of sediment at 24 previously visited stations (shown in Figure 1) in November 1999. er 1999. The location of each sampling point is given in Table 1. The range of ammonia values was generally two orders of magnitude higher than that found at the same stations in 1998, but the analytical methods were not identical between years. Elevated concentrations of total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) and total phosphorus (TP) were found together at several stations, scattered down-river from New Bern into the open waters of the Sound [see in particular the data in Table 2 from stations 407, 410, 411, 416, 417, 040, and 041]. The highest values of TKN and TP were comparable to the range of values reported from 1981-1982 at six stations in the Neuse and Pamlico estuaries by Matson and others (WRRI Report No. 191, NCSU), but most values were one to two orders of magnitude lower. Ammonia levels appeared to vary with TKN, whereas nitrate-nitrite N was relatively constant among stations. Secchi depth readings showed that there was little light penetration to the bottom at most stations, and plant life was essentially absent. These results may suggest that wasteload inputs from flood-born sediments were being denitrified after deposition. Other parameters being analyzed for the hurricane assessment include sediment contaminant levels and benthic infaunal community structure.

This project was a cooperative effort of several organizations interested in the environmental health of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system.

For further information about the contents of this page please contact R4SESDWeb@epa.gov

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