EPA Science Inventory

Quantitative Models for the Narragansett Bay Estuary, Rhode Island/Massachusetts, USA

Citation:

Rashleigh, B., H. Walker, T. Gleason, M. Abdelrhman, L. Charlestra, E. Dettmann, P. Pelletier, S. Hale, G. Thursby, N. Detenbeck, D. Keith, S. Rego, S. Robinson, J. Grear, S. Ayvazian, AND M. Mazzotta. Quantitative Models for the Narragansett Bay Estuary, Rhode Island/Massachusetts, USA. International Society for Ecological Modelling (ISEM), Baltimore, MD, May 08 - 12, 2016.

Description:

Multiple drivers, including nutrient loading and climate change, affect the Narragansett Bay ecosystem in Rhode Island/Massachusetts, USA. Managers are interested in understanding the timing and magnitude of these effects, and ecosystem responses to restoration actions. To provide scientific support for nutrient management in Narragansett Bay, we developed a set of models based on past and current data for hydrodynamics, water quality, and ecology, calibrated to current conditions. We used linked mechanistic hydrodynamic and water quality models (EFDC/WASP), developed empirical approaches to quantitatively relate nutrient and dissolved oxygen concentrations to seagrass habitat (both bio-optical and seagrass predictive models), benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish; and applied a general model (the ECOPATH/ECOSIM model) for the foodweb. Our integrated set of models was generally able to reproduce observed data for the estuary and characterize scientifically valid patterns. Current modeling challenges include limited data availability for water quality and selected inputs, variability associated with invertebrate and fish populations, and issues of scaling for model linkage. We assessed the feasibility of using modeling for decision-making in the context of integrated nutrient management, with a goal of transferability to other Northeastern estuaries. While the models seem useful to answer questions related to Narragansett Bay, some aspects of this approach (i.e., the hydrodynamics and seagrass models) are more transferrable than others. Future directions include the testing of scenarios (e.g., land use change, habitat restoration, marine spatial planning), development of modeling approaches for zooplankton and shellfish, and the incorporation of economics.

Purpose/Objective:

We expect this product to be used to inform nutrient management decisions by the states of RI and MA, and also serve as a detailed approach to a system that has been modeled with other tools.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Completion Date: 05/16/2016
Record Last Revised: 05/16/2016
Record Created: 05/16/2016
Record Released: 05/16/2016
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 314415

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

POPULATION ECOLOGY BRANCH