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).

Nitrite (NO2-)
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.

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map of nitrite
legend "Good” areas are not necessarily of the quality needed by living resources.
*Status is relative to other similar areas in the Bay.
**Trends are significant at p < 0.01.

For more information, please contact Renee Karrh at (410) 260-8628.

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