Pang, H.; Ingelido, P.; Hirst, B.; Pflaumer, J.; Witt, A.; Zaman, A., and Aiello, J., 2017. Water quality condition and assessment within the Barnegat Bay watershed between 2011 and 2015. In: Buchanan, G.A.; Belton, T.J., and Paudel, B. (eds.), A Comprehensive Assessment of Barnegat Bay–Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.
To address the ecological health of Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, a comprehensive water monitoring program has been conducted within the Barnegat Bay watershed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and multiple partners since June 2011. Barnegat Bay and its tributaries were evaluated for multiple water quality metrics and from various perspectives. The nutrient concentrations and loadings from the tributaries in the northern watershed are higher than those from the tributaries in the southern portion of the watershed. Within Barnegat Bay, higher nitrogen concentrations were observed in the northern portion, while higher total phosphorus (TP) concentrations occurred in the southern portion. Daily variability of water quality at certain locations was observed from the results of intensive sampling events (six samples per day over 4 consecutive days of sampling). Analysis of multiple years of data suggests that water quality has not varied significantly year to year from 2011 to 2015. Violation of the existing applicable numeric criterion was identified for dissolved oxygen, TP, and turbidity within some assessment units in Barnegat Bay and its watershed. A comparison made between these data and the targets used by other estuaries in the NE United States related to nutrient criteria found that portions of the bay would not achieve the water quality thresholds used by these other estuaries.