Contributions of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary: Updated loading estimates

Prepared in cooperation with the Barnegat Bay National Estuary Program
By:  and 



Based on the most recent and most accurate data available through 2008, the total load of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay‐Little Egg Harbor (BB‐LEH) estuary from the most substantial sources (surface water, including surface‐water discharge and direct storm runoff; ground‐water discharge; and atmospheric deposition) is estimated to be 650,000 kilograms of nitrogen per year (kg N/yr). Surface water contributes 66 percent (431,000 kg N/yr), direct ground‐ water discharge accounts for 12 percent (78,000 kg N/yr), and atmospheric deposition accounts for 22 percent (141,000 kg N/yr). This new loading estimate was compared to a previously published estimate produced by using similar methodology but less current data through 1997. Findings of the present study include a substantially lower estimate of atmospheric deposition of nitrogen to the estuary compared to the previous estimate. The study results also offer further support of the relation between land use and nitrogen levels, and indicate that the Toms and Metedeconk River basins account for more than 60 percent of the nitrogen load to the estuary from surface‐water discharge. Differences between the two estimates can be attributed to both the use of more accurate and more recent data in the revised estimate, and actual changes in the magnitude of nitrogen loads from various sources. Gaps in available water‐quality and hydrologic data are documented, and additional analysis and monitoring that may improve the reliability of future nitrogen loading estimates are presented.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Contributions of nitrogen to the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary: Updated loading estimates
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) New Jersey Water Science Center
Description 25 p.
Larger Work Title Barnegat Bay Partnership State of the Bay Technical Report
Country United States
State New Jersey
Other Geospatial Barnegat Bay‐Little Egg Harbor estuary
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details