||Geological Survey, Reston, VA.; Environmental Protection Agency, Annapolis, MD. Chesapeake Bay Program.; Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources, Annapolis.; Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality, Charlottesville.
As part of an annual evaluation of water-quality conditions by the Chesapeake Bay Program, water-quality and streamflow data from 32 sites in nontidal parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed were analyzed to document annual nutrient and sediment trends for 1985 through 2004. This study also formalized different trend tests and methodologies used in assessing the effectiveness of management actions in reducing nutrients and sediments to the Chesapeake Bay. Trends in streamflow were tested at multiple time scales (daily, seasonal, and annual), resulting in only one significant trend (annual-mean streamflow for the Choptank River near Greensboro, Md.). Total freshwater flow entering the bay for the July-August-September summer season 2004 was the highest ever estimated for that 3-month period (1937-2004). Observed (unbiased) concentration summaries indicate higher ranges in total-nitrogen concentrations in the northern major river basins, those in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and northern Virginia, compared to the more southern basins in Virginia. Almost half of the monitoring sites in the northern basins exhibited significant downward trends in total nitrogen with time. Comparisons with total phosphorus and sediment showed similar results to total nitrogen.