Biological indicators enhance water quality monitoring in Maryland's Coastal Bays
Nutrient point sources such as wastewater treatment plants and non-point sources including agricultural runoff degrade the water quality of Maryland's Coastal Bays through excessive nutrient loading. Identifying specific sources is difficult due to their variety and mixture. Biological indicators can identify nitrogen sources, integrate nitrogen from these sources over time, and detect biologically important nutrients. Mapping identified sources can provide targets for nutrient reduction management actions, monitor management effectiveness, and evaluate the need for increased efforts. This newsletter summarizes data from the 2004 and 2006 water quality surveys of Maryland's Coastal Bays, incorporating the macroalgae Gracilaria sp. and the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica as bioindicators.