Understanding How Change Affects Delmarva’s Coastal Lagoons

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Understanding How Change Affects Delmarva’s Coastal Lagoons

Lagoon on Virginia's Eastern Shore. ©istockphoto.com

Lagoon on Virginia's Eastern Shore. ©istockphoto.com

Lagoon on Virginia's Eastern Shore. ©istockphoto.com

Lagoon on Virginia's Eastern Shore. ©istockphoto.com

Delmarva’s shallow coastal lagoons are important for seagrass, fish, and human recreation, but little is known about how they will fare in a future characterized by increased nitrogen inputs. A group of regional research partners are joining forces to develop new models that will help resource managers quantify how land-use changes will alter nitrogen inputs to Delmarva’s lagoons and how lagoon ecosystems will respond. This study expands upon previous work, in which Mark Brush of VIMS developed pilot versions of models to predict nitrogen inputs from agriculture, septic systems, and atmospheric deposition, and lagoon responses to increasing loads. The team from VIMS, University of Maryland, University of Delaware, and the U.S. Geological Survey will incorporate changing land use, increasing population, climate change, and management practices into the model for a more complete look at how human activities affect lagoons.

Funded by the Sea Grant Regional Research RFP.

Project detail: Mark Brush (VIMS), Lora Harris (U Maryland), Joanna York (U Delaware), Kevin Kroeger (USGS), Iris Anderson (VIMS), and Walter Boynton (U Maryland). Forecasting watershed loading and lagoon response along the Delmarva Peninsula due to changing landuse and climate.