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Accession Number 5004029

Title Developing Tools to Monitor and Predict Effects of Nutrient Enrichment on Estuaries at

Acadia National Park

Project Description Baseline investigations have highlighted the susceptibility of estuaries at Acadia National Park to

nutrient inputs and the threats posed by increasing residential development outside the ParkÆs

boundaries. Excessive nutrient enrichment of estuaries can lead to eutrophication and

concomitant losses of biological diversity and habitat value. This project will develop tools for

predicting estuarine responses to nutrient enrichment and management prescriptions for

monitoring the ecological integrity of AcadiaÆs estuaries. We are using an interdisciplinary

approach at a variety of spatial scales to link land use to nutrient loading and ecological response.

The objectives of this project are to 1) identify the sources and quantities of nutrient inputs to the

estuary, 2) determine critical thresholds for nutrient enrichment causing shifts in community

dominance by submerged vascular plants to algae, 3) quantify land-use types and landscape

pattern metrics within the watershed, and relate watershed characteristics to nutrient loading

rates, 4)develop a GIS-based decision support system linking estuarine response to land use, and

5) test the sensitivity of various indicators and determine the sampling frequency needed to

detect early signs of estuarine eutrophication through long-term monitoring.

Keywords decision support system, estuaries, landscape, national parks, nutrient enrichment, ruppia

maritima, submerged macrophytes, water quality, watersheds,

Principal Hilary A Neckles, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: hilary_neckles@usgs.gov; Glenn R

Investigators Guntenspergen, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: glenn_guntenspergen@usgs.gov;

Charles Culbertson, USGS Water Resources Division, Maine District Office: cculbert@usgs.gov;

Martha G Nielsen, USGS Water Resources Division Maine District Office: mnielsen@usgs.gov;

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