The research aims to help states and communities facing regulatory challenges develop total maximum daily loads and site-specific nutrient criteria


The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) recently awarded a contract to LimnoTech to develop scientifically sound nutrient goals. The research will help states and communities facing regulatory challenges to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDL) and site-specific nutrient criteria.

The research will build upon previous efforts to define the amount of data necessary to apply to models in the Nutrient Modeling Toolbox to ultimately support regulatory decisions.

The research team will evaluate 20 to 25 existing nutrient receiving water quality model applications corresponding to data availability, model calibration evaluation, uncertainty assessment and regulatory/management outcome.

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The models will be used in two ways to define nutrient-related targets: develop numeric nutrient criteria to quantify the relationship between nutrient concentrations and ecological endpoints of concern; and develop total maximum daily loads to quantify the relationship between nutrient loads to the body of water and ecological endpoints of concern.

The main goal is to facilitate the future use of models to set nutrient targets and provide an understanding of the data that is necessary for end users and stakeholders to make regulatory decisions. The research team will provide recommendations regarding methods for incorporating models in regulatory decision making, as well as guidance for end-users and water quality stakeholders that will allow them to assess the data needed for successful model application.

The project results ideally will demonstrate the utility of the work in developing numeric nutrient targets and lead to an increase of the successful application of these models.

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The project is anticipated to be completed in November 2018.


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