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Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5202

National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Nutrient Trends in Streams and Rivers of the United States, 1993–2003

By Lori A. Sprague, David K. Mueller, Gregory E. Schwarz, and David L. Lorenz


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Trends in streamflow and concentrations and loads of total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and nitrate were determined for the period from 1993 to 2003 in selected streams and rivers of the United States. Flow-adjusted trends in concentration (the trends that would have occurred in the absence of natural changes in streamflow), non-flow-adjusted trends in concentration (the trends resulting from both natural and human factors), and trends in load (trends in the nutrient mass transported downstream) were determined, and the results were examined spatially to determine whether a consistent pattern of trends occurred across groups of sites at multiple locations. Relations between the trends and changes in nutrient sources and streamflow are examined. See document for complete abstract.

First posted May 28, 2009

For additional information contact:

Director, Colorado Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, Mail Stop 415
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Sprague, L.A., Mueller, D.K., Schwarz, G.E., and Lorenz, D.L., 2009, Nutrient trends in streams and rivers of the United States, 1993–2003: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008–5202, 196 p.





Purpose and Scope



Nutrient Trends in Streams and Rivers of the United States, 1993–2003

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited

Appendix 1. Study-site characteristics

Appendix 2. Model output for trends in daily mean streamflow from 1993 to 2003

Appendix 3. Model output for flow-adjusted trends in concentration, non-flow-adjusted trends in concentration, and trends in load from 1993 to 2003

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