Development of Nutrient TMDLs for the Raritan River Basin

A large watershed study was performed to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) as necessary to address phosphorus and other conventional impairments in the Raritan River Basin. The Raritan River Basin encompasses over 1,100 square miles in the north-central portion of New Jersey that drain to the Raritan Bay.

Extensive data collection was performed, the purpose of which was to augment presently available information in order to provide data necessary to evaluate nutrient chemistry and use impairment, as well as provide data necessary for the modeling work. Streams and lakes were evaluated to identify critical locations where water column phosphorus is causing, or potentially causing, instream impairment. Nutrient chemistry, diurnal dissolved oxygen and pH, and chlorophyll-a measurements were used to assess nutrient limitation, productivity, and phosphorus impairment. Data collected for this study were also evaluated to determine the nature and cause of other conventional impairments in the Raritan River Basin, namely total suspended solids, pH, temperature, and dissolved oxygen.

Hydrologic, hydraulic, and water quality modeling were performed in order to relate point and nonpoint sources to water quality targets at critical locations. The TMDL(s) will be established in order to determine pollutant load reductions that will be necessary to bring each impaired segment into compliance with applicable water quality standards.

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