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Mapping nitrogen sources and nitrogen-impacted ecosystems at scales for national, regional and local decisions


Improved mapping and monitoring of N sources and N-impacted ecosystems and services. Improved uncertainties about loading of nitrogen to coastal waters by weight-of-evidence model comparisons. Guidance on best practices for reducing nitrogen impacts on ecosystems, ecosystem services and human well-being, incorporating Life Cycle Analysis.

Rationale and Research Approach:

Reliable and accessible information on nitrogen sources is a critical component of integrated nutrient management. Synthesis and analysis of existing data on nitrogen sources available at the national scale can provide information that can be used to track, evaluate, and manage nitrogen use and impacts. This effort will use existing data generated by USGS, USDA, private agricultural institutes, and academic institutions, to create a national inventory of nitrogen inputs to the US. This data will be available for a variety of scales and periods, of use from national to local efforts. Data layers of similar sources will be compared in order to provide an estimate of uncertainties, and data across years will be compared to assess trends and variability. Our goal is to catalyze improved mapping and monitoring of nitrogen sources and N-impacted ecosystems and services with assessment of temporal trends, spatial variability and uncertainty. This work will develop a complete life cycle analysis for nitrogen. We also plan to conduct community-level testing of nitrogen sources and impacts for improved nitrogen management.

MED Scientists:

Brian Hill


Hill, B.H., R.K. Kolka, F.H. McCormick, and M.A. Starry. 2014. A synoptic survey of ecosystem services from headwater catchments in the United States. Ecosystem Services (in press).

Angradi, T.R., D.W. Bolgrien, T.M. Jicha, M.S. Pearson, D.L. Taylor, M.F. Moffett, K.A. Blocksom, D.M. Walters, C.M. Elonen, L.E. Anderson, J.M. Lazorchak, E.D. Reavie, A.R. Kireta, and B.H. Hill. 2011. An assessment of stressor extent and biological condition in the North American mid-continent great rivers (USA). River Systems 19:143-163.

Compton, J.E. , J.A. Harrison, R.L. Dennis, T.L. Greaver, B.H. Hill, S.J. Jordan, H. Walker, and H.V. Campbell. 2011. Ecosystem services altered by human changes in the nitrogen cycle: A new perspective for US decision making. Ecology Letters 14:804-815.

Hill, B.H. and D.W. Bolgrien. 2011. Nitrogen removal by streams and rivers of the Upper Mississippi River basin. Biogeochemistry 102:183-194.

Hill, B.H., D.W. Bolgrien, A.T. Herlihy, T.M. Jicha, and T.R. Angradi. 2011. A synoptic survey of nitrogen and phosphorus in tributary streams and great rivers of the Upper Mississippi River basin. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 216:605-619.

Angradi, T.R., D.W. Bolgrien, T.M. Jicha, M.S. Pearson, B.H. Hill, D.L. Taylor, E.W. Schweiger, L. Shepard, A.R. Batterman, M.F. Moffett, C.M. Elonen, and L.E. Anderson. 2009. A bioassessment approach for mid-continent great rivers: The Upper Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio (USA). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 152:425-442.

Moffett, M.F. , D.W. Bolgrien, T. Nawrocki, and M.A. Starry. 2009. Landscape metrics arranged by hydrological proximity to sites on Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers. NHD Plus Application on Horizon-Systems website: http://www.horizon-systems.com/nhdplus/applications.php.

Expected Products:







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