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Over the past two decades, total nitrogen (TN) concentrations have increased in Casco Bay (CBEP 2015). The sources of the increased nitrogen are poorly understood but occur with simultaneous population growth and land use changes. The total riverine nitrogen load to Casco Bay was previously estimated by Liebman and Milstead (2012) using the United States Geologic Survey’s (USGS) SPAtially Referenced Regression On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) model. The SPARROW model uses watershed characteristics, regional monitoring data and nitrogen source data to estimate nitrogen loading but was not validated using measurements of nitrogen in the Casco Bay watershed. This study attempts to estimate the nitrogen load from three rivers (Presumpscot, Royal and Capisic Brook), that together account for 78% of Casco Bay’s watershed (87% of the freshwater flow) and generally represent two distinct types of sub basins in the larger watershed (i.e., forested and urban) (Liebman and Milstead 2012). The TN loading estimates from the three rivers were then extrapolated to provide an estimate for the total riverine load to Casco Bay and compared to the previously modeled TN load estimates. Additionally, the riverine TN load was compared to other known TN loads from the other major sources such as atmospheric deposition, combined sewage outfalls (CSO) and waste water treatment facility (WWTF) effluent.


Capisic Brook, Casco Bay watershed, Presumpscot River, Royal River



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