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United States Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Water 4304

EPA-822-B-01-003 October 2001

Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual Estuarine and Coastal Marine Waters

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual

Estuarine and Coastal Marine Waters

October 2001

Disclaimer
This manual provides technical guidance to States, Indian Tribes, and other authorized jurisdictions to establish water quality criteria and standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA), to protect aquatic life from acute and chronic effects of nutrient overenrichment. Under the CWA, States and Indian Tribes are to establish water quality criteria to protect designated uses. State and Indian Tribal decisionmakers retain the discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that differ from this guidance when appropriate and scientifically defensible. Although this manual constitutes EPA's scientific recommendations regarding ambient concentrations of nutrients that protect resource quality and aquatic life, it does not substitute for the CWA or EPA's regulations; nor is it a regulation itself. Thus, it cannot impose legally binding requirements on EPA, States, Indian Tribes, or the regulated community, and might not apply to a particular situation or circumstance. EPA may change this guidance in the future.

Cover Photograph: Somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay. Supplied by David Flemer as a duplicate copy from the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Photo Archives, University of Maryland; date unknown but earlier than 1972.

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Nutrient Criteria—Estuarine and Coastal Waters

CONTENTS
Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xv Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvii Chapter 1. Introduction and Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 1.1 Backround . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-1 1.2 Definition of Estuaries and Coastal Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-2 1.3 Nature of the Nutrient Overenrichment Problem in Estuarine and Coastal Marine Waters . . . . . . 1-5 Scope and Magnitude of the Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-5 1.4 The Nutrient Criteria Development Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8 Preliminary Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-8 Strategy for Reducing Human-Based Eutrophication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-10 Nutrient Criteria Development Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-11 Chapter 2. Scientific Basis for Estuarine and Coastal Waters Quantitative Nutrient Criteria . . 2-1 2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 Purpose and Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-1 Some Important Nutrient-Related Scientific Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
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