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UNC Nutrient Management Study

Researchers from UNC and NC State are conducting a number of research projects as part of the study, including:

  • Cataloguing and reviewing water quality data sets collected throughout the Jordan Lake watershed to identify discernible trends and also conducting additional water quality sampling to address data gaps.
  • Evaluating reservoir vulnerability to eutrophication, including harmful algal blooms, relative to nutrient and sediment loads, streamflow patterns, and climate, for both current conditions and future scenarios.
  • Identifying major sources of nutrients and sediments to Jordan Lake and the timing of loading.
  • Evaluating likelihood of nutrient mitigation through the implementation of best management practices, regulatory measures and restoration efforts.
  • Evaluating innovative financing mechanisms for stormwater controls and analysis of costs and benefits of water quality improvement.
  • Reviewing nutrient strategies from other states, including the Chesapeake Bay Program, and analyzing the impact those strategies have had on water quality.
  • Engaging with communities and stakeholders throughout the watershed through listening sessions, focus groups, etc.

Monitoring and Data Collection in Jordan Lake

One major component of the Study involves a multi-part observational program of Jordan Lake’s water circulation, water quality, and other relevant factors affecting movement and quality. Much of the data being collected as described below can be viewed on this web site. Specific objectives of the observational program are:

  • To identify water circulation and exchanges in the lake, in particular, the extent to which the large volume of water entering via the Haw River influences the New Hope Creek arm of the lake.
  • To better quantify the response of important water quality parameters in the lake based on changing conditions (variations in flow, temperature, light and wind) via high frequency (hourly) in situ observations.
  • To better quantify phytoplankton dynamics in Jordan Lake, including nutrient limitation and productivity that are causing the lake to be out of compliance with water quality standards.