New USGS SPARROW Models and Online Decision Support System Help Direct Nutrient Management Actions

The USGS has released new online regional models and an interactive decision support system that helps states, water managers, and Federal agencies use sound scientific information to assess the potential effectiveness of localized nutrient reduction strategies.  In addition to being able to access these tools on the USGS web site, EPA has also incorporated this data and information into its online Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution Data Access Tool (NPDAT), along with data from various other sources.  State drinking water programs will want to use both the new USGS tools and the EPA NPDAT as they work with other state agencies and stakeholders on efforts to reduce nutrients in drinking water supply areas.

The SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) models have been developed to account for the unique set of nutrient sources and characteristics in each of seven large regions in the conterminus U.S.  These regional SPARROW models incorporate geospatial data on geology, soils, land use, fertilizer, manure, wastewater treatment facilities, temperature, precipitation and other watershed characteristics, from USGS, NOAA, USDA, and EPA.

The new online decision support system uses the data from the regional models to help users evaluate combinations of source reduction scenarios directed at one or multiple sources of nutrients and make decisions about where to target actions based on projected changes in the amount of nutrients transported to downstream waters.

To view the model results detailing nutrient conditions in each region and access the decision support system, visit the USGS web site HERE.  EPA’s NPDAT is available on the web site HERE.