Water Budget for and Nitrogen Loads to Northeast Creek, Bar Harbor, Maine

U.S. Geological Survey
Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-4000


by Martha G. Nielsen


The full report is available in pdf. Links to the pdf.


The potential for nutrient enrichment to coastal estuaries on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, may affect the health of these important ecosystems at Acadia National Park. Inputs of water and nitrogen entering one of these coastal estuaries, Northeast Creek, and adjacent wetlands on Mt. Desert Island were quantified in a recent study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service. Streamflow and concentra-tions of nitrogen species in the four perennial streams entering the wetland/estuary system were measured monthly for 18 months to estimate loads and develop a water budget. Old Mill Brook was instrumented with a continuous-recording stream-flow gage; the MOVE.1 record-extension technique was used with this and several other nearby continuous gages to estimate daily surface-water inflow to the wetland. Inflow from ungaged basins was estimated from the unit-area yield calculated from data obtained from the gaged basins. Precipitation data collected at the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) site at Acadia National Park Headquarters and the Acadia National Park weather station were used to calculate atmospheric inputs. Evapotranspiration from the wetland was calculated using Fennessey and Vogel’s regionalized multivariate regression model of Penman-Montieth evapotranspiration. Geologic data collected in the field and taken from published geologic maps indicate that ground water probably does not contribute significantly to the water budget of this wetland system. Surface-water outflow from the wetland was not calculated because of the tidal nature of the outlet of the wetland and the difficulties associated with measuring flow in a tidal stream.

Table of Contents



Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Area

Conceptual Model of the Water Budget and Nitrogen Inputs to the Northeast Creek/Fresh Meadow Estuary System

Water Budget

Nitrogen Inputs

Methods of Data Collection

Surface Water

Ground Water


Water Budget for the Northeast Creek/Fresh Meadow System

Estimation of Surface-Water Inflow

Estimation of Precipitation Inputs

Estimation of Evapotranspiration

Estimation of Ground-Water Inputs

Monthly Water Inputs and Surface-Water Outflows

External Nitrogen Loading to Northeast Creek

Surface-Water Loading

Water-Quality Data

Estimation of Loads

Atmospheric Loading

Ground-Water Loading

Tidal Loading

Total External Nitrogen Loads

Summary and Conclusions

References Cited


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District Chief

U.S. Geological Survey

26 Ganneston Drive

Augusta, ME 04330

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Denver, CO 80225-0046


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Last modified: Wednesday, December 07 2016, 12:48:03 PM
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