EPA Science Inventory

Tradeoffs Between Aesthetics and the Attenuation of Reactive Nitrogen in Northeastern Lakes

Citation:

MILSTEAD, W. B., J. W. HOLLISTER, H. A. WALKER, AND R. B. Moore. Tradeoffs Between Aesthetics and the Attenuation of Reactive Nitrogen in Northeastern Lakes. Presented at A Community of Ecosystems Services (ACES 2010), Chandler, AZ, December 06 - 09, 2010.

Description:

Historically, lakes have played a major role in the industrial, agricultural, and urban development of the northeastern United States though the provisioning of fresh water and hydropower. Although lakes continue to be important sources of freshwater, technological changes have reduced dependence on water as a source of power. Expanding populations and increases in affluence have raised the demand for cultural ecosystem services such as the provisioning of recreational, housing amenity, and existence value benefits from lakes. At the same time, lakes are also valued for the dilution, processing, and transport of anthropogenic wastes such as reactive (fixed) nitrogen from agricultural & urban runoff, sewage, vehicle emission etc. The proportion of reactive nitrogen attenuated through denitrification and plant uptake can be estimated based on models derived from published lake studies. For northeast lakes, estimated nitrogen removal rates are high (median = 20-40%) but these numbers need verification. The use of lakes to process nitrogenous waste may conflict with cultural uses as these are highly influenced by people’s perception of water quality and aesthetics. We use data for actual and perceived water quality from the 2007 EPA National Lake Assessment and nutrient concentration estimates from the draft USGS SPARROW model for New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions to model lake aesthetics. Random forest modeling indicates that reactive nitrogen concentration is an important predictor of lake aesthetics and their potential to deliver cultural ecosystem services. We evaluate the changes in cultural and nitrogen removal services predicted to occur under various nitrogen reduction and increase scenarios for northeastern lakes.

Purpose/Objective:

To develop indicators of ecosystem services for northeastern lakes based on the 2007 National Lakes Assessment and the USGS MRB1 SPARROW model.

URLs/Downloads:

MILSTEAD_ACES2010.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 10 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Start Date: 12/06/2010
Completion Date: 12/06/2010
Record Last Revised: 06/19/2012
Record Created: 07/27/2010
Record Released: 07/27/2010
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 226787

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT BRANCH