A Nutrient Budget for Nueces Bay, Texas

In recent years, Texas established freshwater inflow standards for all major bays and estuaries and funded scientific investigations to refine these standards through an adaptive management framework. Nueces Bay, a secondary bay of the Corpus Christi Bay system, has experienced declining river inflows in part due to upstream reservoirs and withdrawals for human use. This decline in inflows has led to concerns that the system is more saline and nutrient limited than it was historically.  

Anchor QEA was selected by the Texas Water Development Board on behalf of a local stakeholder committee to develop a conceptual site model and nitrogen budget for Nueces Bay. This involved identifying and quantifying nitrogen sources and losses during historical and present conditions based on available data, model output, and literature. Understanding the relative importance of each nitrogen source will help guide recommendations for changes to freshwater inflow standards, understand potential benefits associated with discharge of municipal wastewater treatment plant effluent, prioritize legislative strategies, and evaluate other management options related to nutrients. 

Location
Gulf Coast