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Agricultural Ecology Program: Understanding sources and sinks of
nutrients and sediment in the upper Susquehanna River basin

The Susquehanna River Basin in New York

The Susquehanna River:

The upper Susquehanna River in New York:

Subbasins of the Susquehanna River watershed in New York:

          There are 5 subbasins of the Susquehanna (defined by the USGS 8-digit-HUC codes) that are found in New York state. These are shown in different colors in the map above. West to east, they are the Chemung, Tioga, Owego-Wappasening, Chenango, and Upper Susquehanna, with approximate areas of 3130, 3580, 2730, 4140, and 5930 km2, respectively.

          Often these basins are grouped more simply into the Chemung system (green map regions) and the Upper Susquehanna system (blue-purple regions).

Management with respect to the Chesapeake Bay:

          New York has a memorandum of understanding with the Chesapeake Bay Program to commit the state to water quality goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 2000. This includes reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediments to occur by 2010. New York's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is the upper Susquehanna watershed. Failure to meet the caps is likely to result in mandatory reductions imposed by the EPA (Chesapeake Executive Council 2004).

          Proposed caps for N, P, and sediment flux from New York State down the Susquehanna are shown in the table below, along with estimates from the Chesapeake Bay Model (Chesapeake Executive Council 2004; PowerPoint presentation). However, there are some uncertainties in these amounts across different models and due to limited monitoring in the past. Also, future climate change may tend to increase N fluxes in the Susquehanna, making it more difficult to reach the targeted reductions (Howarth et al., in press).

(approx.) 1985 est. 2001 est. 2010 cap  
total N 9500 8700 5700 metric tons/yr
total P 520 440 270 metric tons/yr
sediment 172 149 131 thousand tons/yr

Click the link to open a poster about the Susquehanna River (PowerPoint file)

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