The map below shows status and trends at
four stations in the Lower Patuxent River for nitrite (NO2-)
and nitrite plus nitrate (NO2- + NO3-)
fluxes (observed data).
The current status (average of 1996-1998 data) of nitrite fluxes at the four
SONE stations in the Patuxent River is illustrated above. Ideally, we
want to see high NO2- fluxes for two reasons: (1) High
fluxes mean that NH4+ is evolving (changing) from its
potentially damaging form (fuel for phytoplankton blooms) to a form
phytoplankton can not use and (2) DO is required for this process to occur,
therefore there must be plenty of DO present. Among the SONE stations, two
had NO2- fluxes in the fair range and the other two
were in the good range. Stations are expected to move from poor to fair or
fair to good when DO conditions in benthic waters improves. Nitrite is part
of the nitrification process that helps
restore estuarine systems.