A scientist from NCCOS’sCenter for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment described a modeling study in Chesapeake Bay region’s Patuxent River Estuary at the NOAA NOS Science Seminar Series on June 3, 2015. The presentation, titled ‘Shellfish Aquaculture: A Strategy for Eutrophication Mitigation in the Patuxent River,’ reported nitrogen removal estimates through cultivation and harvest of oysters equivalent to 13% of total nutrient inputs at current cultivation levels and up to almost 90% of total inputs if cultivation areas were expanded to the maximum allowable suitable habitat for cultivation.
The estimated value of the nitrogen removed by a ‘costs avoided’ method show that growers would receive a potential additional 8% of income above the revenue of their product if included in a nutrient trading program. Both current and expanded benefit values are underestimates since they only include nitrogen removal via shellfish growth and harvest while the value of other benefits such as denitrification losses, improved water clarity and seagrass re-growth, decrease in hypoxia and other follow-on benefits were not estimated. The cost for implementation of shellfish aquaculture is similar to costs for other approved agricultural and urban best management practices (BMPs)and thus is suggested as an additional nutrient management tool for use in a comprehensive nutrient management program.
Project page address: Eutrophication and Oyster Aquaculture in the Patuxent River
Try the models yourself at : www.eutro.org/register (Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status [ASSETS] eutrophication model); www.farmscale.org (Farm Aquaculture Resource Management [FARM] shellfish aquaculture model)