Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2011-1252

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service

Denitrification Rates in Marsh Soils and Hydrologic and Water Quality Data for Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds, Mount Desert Island, Maine

By Thomas G. Huntington, Charles W. Culbertson, and John H. Duff

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.38 MB)Abstract

Nutrient enrichment from atmospheric deposition, agricultural activities, wildlife, and domestic sources is a concern at Acadia National Park because of the potential problem of water-quality degradation and eutrophication in estuaries. Water-quality degradation has been observed at the park’s Bass Harbor Marsh estuary but minimal degradation is observed in Northeast Creek estuary. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have estimated nutrient inputs to estuaries from atmospheric deposition and surface-water runoff, and have identified shallow groundwater as an additional potential nutrient source. Previous studies at Acadia National Park have assumed that a certain fraction of the nitrogen input was removed through microbial denitrification, but rates of denitrification (natural or maximum potential) in marsh soils have not been determined. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Acadia National Park, measured in situ denitrification rates in marsh soils in Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds during the summer seasons of 2008 and 2009. Denitrification was measured under ambient conditions and following inorganic nitrogen and glucose additions. Laboratory incubations of marsh soils with and without acetylene were conducted to determine average ratios of nitrous oxide (N2O) to nitrogen (N2) produced during denitrification. Surface water and groundwater samples were analyzed for nutrients, specific conductance, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Water level was recorded continuously during the growing season in Fresh Meadow Marsh in the Northeast Creek Watershed.

First posted November 23, 2011

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
Maine Water Science Center
196 Whitten Road
Augusta, Maine 04330

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Huntington, T.G., Culbertson, C.W., and Duff, J.H., 2011, Denitrification rates in marsh soils and hydrologic and water quality data for Northeast Creek and Bass Harbor Marsh watersheds, Mount Desert Island, Maine: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1252, 30 p. at




Description of Study Area

Purpose and Scope

Data Collection Methods

Denitrification Methods

Field Denitrification Methods

Laboratory Denitrification Methods

Laboratory Methods and Computation of N2O Release Rate

Water Quality Data Collection Methods

Field Methods

Laboratory Methods

Ancillary Data Collection Methods

Field Denitrification Data

Laboratory Denitrification Data

Water-Quality Data

Quality-Control Samples

Ancillary Data

References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Thursday, December 08, 2016, 12:05:15 AM