An integrated river basin-coast-sea modelling scenario for nitrogen management in coastal waters
Linked river basin and coastal water models were applied to analyse the effects of an optimal nitrogen management scenario in the Oder/Odra river basin on water quality in the Oder (Szczecin) Lagoon and the Pomeranian Bay (Baltic Sea). This scenario would reduce nitrogen loads into the coastal waters by about 35%, a level which is similar to the load of the late 1960’s. During summer the primary production and algae biomass in the Oder estuary is limited by nitrogen, which makes a nitrogen management reasonable. The comparison of the late 1960’s and the mid 1990’s shows that an optimal nitrogen management has positive effects on coastal water quality and algae biomass. However, this realistic nitrogen reduction scenario would not ensure a good coastal water quality according to the European Water Framework Directive. A good water quality in the river will not be sufficient to ensure a good water quality in the lagoon. Nitrogen load reductions bear the risk of increased potentially toxic, blue-green algae blooms, especially in the Baltic coastal sea. However, to reach water quality improvements in lagoons and inner coastal waters, nitrogen cuts are necessary. A mere focus on phosphorus is not sufficient.
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