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- January 1, 2007 - December 31, 2011
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impact statement impact
- We are working closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and the Upper Susquehanna Coalition to ensure that our research program will be useful to the stakeholder community to the largest extent possible. Project Director Robert Howarth represents the State of New York on the Science and Technical Advisory Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program. In 2006, he gave briefings to the Commissioners of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, to the scientific staff at the White House, and at the National Atmospheric Deposition Program annual meeting.
impact statement issue
- Over the past few decades, nitrogen inputs to Chesapeake Bay have severely degraded water quality. In the 1980s, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, together with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agreed to reduce the inputs of nitrogen from controllable sources to the Chesapeake by 40 percent. Despite significant efforts in these states, however, nitrogen inputs remain high, and water quality has improved little, if at all. As a result, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the six states in the watershed of Chesapeake Bay have committed to further, stringent reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment to the bay. New York State committed to this goal in March of 2004. The proposed cap for nitrogen fluxes from New York down the Susquehanna River (to be reached by 2010) is 5,700 metric tons per year, a 26 percent reduction. There is significant uncertainty in the current flux estimates, however, as models differ in their estimations of the magnitude, and routine monitoring has only begun in the past year. Climate variability and future climate change may also increase nitrogen fluxes in the Susquehanna, making it more difficult to reach the targeted reductions. Failure to meet this goal is likely to result in mandatory nitrogen and phosphorus reductions imposed by the EPA. Our research is designed to find the most cost-effective way to reduce nutrient fluxes down the Susquehanna from New York.
impact statement response
- The project began in the fall of 2005. The geographic focus is the Susquehanna River drainage basin and its tributaries within New York (an area of approximately 19,500 square kilometers), with an emphasis on the nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics of the agricultural and forested landscapes of the region. In the first 1.5 years of the project, we have engaged 18 Cornell faculty and staff members and eight Cornell graduate students, representing six departments, to begin research and modeling in the upper Susquehanna River basin. We have also expanded research at two core research sites: an agricultural site and a site for studying atmospheric deposition. Core research foci are the processes that affect nutrient losses from agro-ecosystems and the magnitude and fate of atmospheric deposition.
impact statement summary
- Over the past few decades, nitrogen inputs to Chesapeake Bay have severely degraded water quality. Our goal is to gain a better understanding of the sources and sinks of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments in a large, rural watershed of mixed land use, including agricultural and forest lands. Our goals are to: gain a better understanding of the sources and sinks of nutrients and sediments in order improve water quality through better management of pollutants in the landscape; study the controls on nutrient pollution in rural landscapes in general; find ways to sustain agriculture in the northeastern U.S. in a manner that best harmonizes with environmental quality; and identify how climate variability and climate change influence the manner in which nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments move through the rural landscape.
- Applied Research
- Marino, Roxanne Senior Research Associate
USDA area other
- Watershed managment and water quality