Nutrient Criteria Development

Freshwater Nutrient Criteria

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires all states to consider nutrient criteria for all waters.  Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are natural parts of aquatic ecosystems and are necessary for the growth of algae and aquatic plants, which provide food and habitat for fish, shellfish and other organisms. Unlike many water contaminants for which criteria have been established, nutrients typically do not exert primary effects on aquatic life by acting as toxicants. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water can cause algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. Significant increases in algae due to nutrient over-enrichment can harm water quality, food resources and habitats, and decrease the oxygen that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.  Some algal blooms are capable of producing toxins that are harmful to aquatic life and/or human health.

This web page provides information related to past and current efforts to develop criteria designed to protect Virginia surface waters from harmful effects of nutrient over-enrichment.

Virginia's Nutrient Criteria Development Plan - 2017

blue green algae cellNutrient Criteria Development for Flowing Surface Waters

James River Chlorophyll a Criteria Study

Lake & Reservoir Nutrient Criteria 

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Criteria & Other Links

Streams and Rivers

Nutrient Criteria Development for Streams & Rivers. An Academic Advisory Committee (AAC), a group composed of academics and scholars from Virginia colleges and universities, has been advising DEQ on nutrient criteria development since 2003. Activities have included providing general advice and perspectives to initiate the criteria development process in 2003-2004 and advising and technical development of criteria for lakes and reservoirs, now completed.  Current efforts focus on advising and technical development of criteria for wadeable streams and non-wadeable rivers.

 Technical Development Documents  Meetings & Presentations

2006AAC Literature Review for Rivers &  Streams    - Freshwater Nutrient Criteria for Non- wadeable Streams in Virginia: Fish Community Assessment: Phase 1

2008 - Freshwater Nutrient Criteria for Non-wadeable Streams in Virginia: Fish Community Assessment: Phase 2

2009 - AAC Report 2009 - Wadeable Streams  / AAC Report 2009 - Non-wadeable Rivers 

2010 - AAC Report 2010- Wadeable & Non-Wadeable Streams & Rivers

2012AAC Report 2012 - Wadeable  Streams

2012 - Technical and Policy Considerations and Options in Assessing Nutrient Stresses on Freshwater Streams in VA

2014 - A Screening Approach for Nutrient Criteria in Virginia: Comments and Responses

2016 - A Screening Approach for Nutrient Criteria in Virginia - FY2016 report

Stakeholder Meeting - August 18, 2004  AAC Recommendations 

 Algal Monitoring 

Stakeholder Meeting - October 23, 2006         

DEQ Current AAC recommendation status



Presentation - Va. Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies (VAMWA)  

Stakeholder Meeting - June 12, 2008

Wadeable streams nutrient criteria development - current status (DEQ)

The Screening Value Approach (Dr. Carl Zipper)

Using Fish Community-Based Measures of Stream Health to Develop Nutrient Criteria for Virginia Streams and Rivers (Dr. Greg Garman)

Perspectives on Nutrient Criteria Development - VAMWA

Meeting minutes from DEQ/AAC meeting, May 24, 2016

James River Chlorophyll a Criteria Study.  DEQ is undertaking a comprehensive review of the existing James River Site-Specific Numeric Chlorophyll-a Criteria and associated modeling framework for the tidal James River to determine the best scientific basis for the standard. This effort is being initiated as a result of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase I Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP).

 Technical Development Documents  Meetings & Presentations

2004 - DEQ Technical Report - Chlorophyll a Numerical Criteria for the Tidal James River

2005James River Alternatives Analysis

2007 - Chesapeake Bay & Tidal Tributaries - Chlorophyll Criteria addendum -(See Chapter VI for chlorophyll a characterization of Harmful Algal Bloom)

2008 - Chesapeake Bay & Tidal Tributaries - Technical Support for Criteria Assessment Protocols addendum -

2010Chesapeake Bay & Tidal Tributaries - Technical Support for Criteria Assessment Protocols addendum 

2011Factors Determining the Location of the Chlorophyll Maximum and the Fate of Algal Production within the Tidal Freshwater James River - Bukaveckas et al

Science Advisory Panel Reports (2015- )

Empirical Relationships Linking Algal Blooms with Threats to Aquatic Life Uses in the James River Estuary - Corresponding author: Paul Bukaveckas

Microscopic & Molecular Genetic Analysis of Blooms, and Determination of Bloom Impacts on Aquatic Life - Reece & Vogelbein, 2015

Data Analysis of HAB Species & Phytoplankton Community Composition Relationships to Chlorophyll a of the James, Elizabeth, and Lafayette Rivers - Egerton et al, 2015

Notes on James River Chlorophyll Simulator and CFD validation – Elgin Perry           



Science Advisory Panel reports (2012-2014)

Quality Assurance Project Plan – James River Chlorophyll Criteria Study

 Quality Assurance Project Plan - Chlorophyll 'a' methods

Executive Summary - First Year Findings from the James River Chlorophyll-a Study. - Bukaveckas

Fulfilling Data Needs for Assessing Numeric CHLa Criteria of the Lower James River Estuary: Microscopic and molecular genetic analyses of blooms, and determination of bloom impacts on aquatic life (2012) – Reece, Vogelbein

 

Modeling Support for the James River Chlorophyll Study Task 2– Empirical Data Analysis Report. – Chesapeake Environmental Communications

 

Fulfilling Data Needs for Assessing Numeric CHLa Criteria of the Lower James River Estuary (2012) - Subtask 1.1-Expand Monitoring Network. – Moore, Parrish, Neikirk

Assessing seasonal relationships between chlorophyll a concentrations to phytoplankton composition, biomass, and abundance, emphasizing the bloom producing algae (HAB and others) within the James, Elizabeth, and Lafayette rivers in Virginia (2012) – Marshall, Egerton

Nutrient uptake and regeneration as a means of initiating and sustaining algal blooms in the James River estuary. - Filippino, Mulholland

Causes and Consequences of Algal Blooms in the Tidal Freshwater James River. – Wood, Bukaveckas, Garman, McIninch

Diagnostic pigments as a means of tracking the distribution of algal functional groups within the James River. – Filippino, Mulholland

Fulfilling Data Needs for Assessing Numeric CHLa Criteria of the Lower James River Estuary: Microscopic and molecular genetic analyses of blooms, and determination of bloom impacts on aquatic life (2013) – Vogelbein, Reece

Environmental factors promoting algal blooms in the Lower James River estuary (2012). – Mulholland, Filippino

 

Environmental factors promoting algal blooms in the Lower James River estuary – Year 2

Subtask 1.1 and 1.3 Expand monitoring network & Determine environmental factors favoring algal blooms. – Mulholland, Filippino

 

James River Sediment Oxygen and Nutrient Exchange (SONE) Study. – Anderson, Stanhope

Fulfilling Data Needs for Assessing Numeric CHLa Criteria of the Lower James River Estuary (2013) - Subtask 1.1-Expand Monitoring Network – Moore, Parrish , Neikirk

Assessing Phytoplankton Composition, Abundance, and Biomass and HAB Relationships to Chlorophyll a of the James, Elizabeth and Lafayette Rivers: 2013 monitoring season. – Egerton, Marshall    

   

Biological Reference Curves for Assessing the James River Chlorophyll a Criteria - Buchanan

Causes and Consequences of Algal Blooms in the Tidal Frshwater James River - Bukaveckas et al, 2014

Final Report - Empirical Relationships Linking Algal Blooms with Threats to Aquatic Life Designated Uses in the James River Estuary - Bukaveckas et al, April 2016

EPA web page - Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP)

EPA web pageHarmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Information

VCU James River Chlorophyll A Research web page

James River CHL'a' Criteria Assessment webinar - July 15, 2015

 

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - August 22, 2011 - Summary 

Overview/Background - DEQ 

Algal Blooms in the tidal-freshwater James River - Paul Bukaveckas 

Blooms in the Lower James River - Margie Mulholland  

Bloom Producing Algae in Virginia Waters - Harold Marshall  

Modeling Algae-Nutrient Responses in the James River - Clifton Bell

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - October 14, 2011 - Summary 

James River Chlorophyll-a Study Comprehensive Work Plan

Presentations 

Research Needs for Upper Tidal James River 

Research Needs for Lower Tidal James River



Draft Modeling Work Plan

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel May 3, 2012 Summary


Presentations
                      

2011 Upper Tidal James River Monitoring Summary- VCU

           
2011 Lower Tidal James River Monitoring Summary - HRSD 

           
Lower Tidal James River - Algae Blooms - ODU 

           
2011 Phytoplankton Monitoring Summary - ODU
           

Modeling Support for James River Chlorophyll Study - CEC

Stakeholder Advisory Group - Informational Meeting -                       
August 27, 2012 Minutes 

James River CHLa Study - Background Information 

Science Advisory Panel activity to date - 2011/2012

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - November 2, 2012

Presentations 
                                                      

2012 Data Collection in the Upper James - VCU 

Phytoplankton Community Analyses - ODU 

Lower James Dataflow Results - VIMS/HRSD 

2012 Data Collection in Lower James - ODU 

Lower James Toxicity Studies - VIMS 

Update & Discussion of Modeling Activities - CEC

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - April 26, 2013 - Minutes

Presentations

Introduction & Highlights of 2012 Findings – Bukaveckas 

Proposed Work for 2013 – Schlegel 

Primer on the Phytoplankton Model – Fitzpatrick 

Overview of Modeling Report – Jasinski 

Watershed Inputs & Critical Conditions – Parker 

Modeling Support for James R. Chlorophyll Study – Shen 

Historical Analysis of James R. Water Quality Data – Wang 

James River Reference Curves – Fitzpatrick 

Stakeholder Advisory Group - Informational Meeting August 13, 2013 Minutes 

First Year Findings of the Science Advisory Panel 

Science Advisory Panel activity to date - 2013

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - November 22, 2013 Minutes

Presentations 

James River Algal Blooms – 2013 

Effects on Living Resources 

Methodology Review 

Modeling Scenarios

Principal Investigator Meeting – March 28, 2014

Presentations



‘Top-Down’ Effects in the James – Bukaveckas

           

Phytoplankton composition, abundance, biomass and HAB relationships to chlorophyll a of the James River Estuary: 2013 – Egerton, Marshall

Lower James River Nutrient Inputs, Cycling, & Chlorophyll ‘a’ - 2013 – Filipinno, Mulholland

Lower James River Water Quality Monitoring - 2013 Summary – Moore, Parrish, Hunley

Larval Toxicity Bioassays: Meso and Polyhaline – Reece

Model Calibration Phase I: Hydrodynamic Model – Shen, Wang, & Wang

DataFlow: Representation and Analysis – Loftis, Wang

 

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - April 11, 2014 Minutes

Presentations 

Synthesis of 2013 Results - P. Bukaveckas

 

Human Health Concerns: Alex Barron (DEQ) & Rebecca LePrell (VDH)

CHLa Criteria & Assessment Procedures by Arthur Butt & Tish Robertson (DEQ)

Chlorophyll ‘a’ Assessment – A General Overview – Tish Robertson (DEQ)

Meta-analysis of HAB Effects on Living Resources (Anne Schlegel)

Stakeholder Advisory Group - Informational Meeting September 15, 2014 Minutes

Presentations

Background/Schedule 

 

Microcystin Toxin in Blue Crabs 

 

Science Advisory Panel Activity to Date

 

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel - November 20, 2014 

Presentations

Empirical Relationships report - Bukavekas 

Status report on the James River HAB Model - Fitzpatrick 

James River Algae Growth Model - Shen 

Effects of River Discharge on Seasonal Phytoplankton Blooming Pattern in Upper James - Wang  

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel – Friday, November 6, 2015

 

Presentations 
                       

From Programmatic Goals to Chlorophyll ‘a’ Criteria – Claire Buchanan
           

Comments on September 2015 Empirical Relations Report - Clifton Bell
                                   

Proposed Path Forward for James River Chlorophyll Assessment Methodology – Tish Robertson


Stakeholder Advisory Group – Informational Meeting –  November 16, 2015 Agenda

James River Chlorophyll Study: Status Update November 16, 2015 – John Kennedy, DEQ
                       

Effects-based Assessment of CHL’a’ Criteria for the James Estuary – Paul Bukaveckas, SAP

           
James River Chlorophyll Study – Status Update to the SAG – Anne Schlegel, DEQ

           
Evaluation of the James River Chlorophyll Assessment Methodology – Tish Robertson, DEQ       

Meeting of Science Advisory Panel – March 18, 2016 Agenda

Presentations

Empirical report update - Bukaveckas

HAB Model Validation – Fitzpatrick

Load Scenarios– Fitzpatrick

Watershed Scenario Analysis – Gurdian      

Lake & Reservoir Nutrient Criteria

 Technical Development Documents

AAC Report 2004                                             AAC Lake Dissolved Oxygen Response

AAC Workplan 2005                                         AAC 2005 Report Addendum 1

AAC Report 2005                                             AAC 2005 Report Addendum 2 

Link to Criteria:

Reservoirs (9VAC25-260-187)          Natural Lakes (9VAC25-260-310 special standards 'cc' and 'dd')

Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Criteria & Other Links  

 DEQ Links  Links to Other Agencies

Chesapeake Bay Criteria (9VAC25-260-185)

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP)

Chesapeake Bay Program

Chesapeake Bay TMDL & Cleanup Plan  (EPA web site)

EPA Nutrient Information (EPA web site)

VA Dept Health - Harmful Algal Blooms 

 

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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