Legacy nitrogen may prevent achievement of water quality goals in the Gulf of Mexico

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

In August 2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone was declared to be the largest ever measured. It has been estimated that a 60% decrease in watershed nitrogen (N) loading may be necessary to adequately reduce eutrophication in the Gulf. However, to date there has been no rigorous assessment of the effect of N legacies on achieving water quality goals. In this study, we show that even if agricultural N use became 100% efficient, it would take decades to meet target N loads due to legacy N within the Mississippi River basin. Our results suggest that both long-term commitment and large-scale changes in agricultural management practices will be necessary to decrease Mississippi N loads and to meet current goals for reducing the size of the Gulf hypoxic zone.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles