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Understanding Lag Times Affecting the Improvement of Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay

Published: January 01, 2005

Available in digital format and hardcopy. Better quantifying the lag time between changes in nutrient and sediment sources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and improvement in the Bays water quality and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is critical to help resource managers to implement the most effective nutrient and sediment reduction strategies and for scientists to improve monitoring and modeling. There is a large degree of uncertainty about the lag time between implementing nutrient and sediment best management practices and detecting an actual improvement of water quality and SAV in the Bay. Results from this Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) workshop suggest that lag times associated with implementation of management practices, impacts of watershed properties, and response of the Bay water quality will make it very difficult to meet water-quality criteria in the Bay by 2010. However, the information about lag times can be used by resource managers to prioritize implementation of practices that provide the most rapid improvement in water quality and improve models and monitoring.

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