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Chesapeake Bay Eutrophication_Scientific Understanding, Ecosystem Restoration, and Challenges for Agriculture 2001

Published: January 01, 2001

Chesapeake Bay has been the subject intensive research on cultural eutrophication and extensive efforts to reduce nutrient inputs.  In 1987 a commitment was made to reduce controllable sources of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) by 40% by the year 2000, although the causes and effect of eutrophication were incompletely known.  Sibseqiemt researh, modeling, and monitoring have shown that: (i) the estuarine ecosystem had been substantiaooy altered by increased loadings of N and P of approximately 7- and 19-fold, respectively;  (ii) hyposia substantially increased since the 1950s; (iii) eutrophication was the major cause of reduction in submerged vegetation; and (iv) reducing nutrient sources by 40% would improve water quality, but less than originally thought.  Strong public support and political commitment have allowed the Chesapeake Bay Program to reduce nutrient inputs, particularly from point sources, by 58% for P and 28% for N.  However, reduction of nonpoint sources of P and N were projectec by models to reach only 19% and 15% respectively, of controllable loadings.

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