Total phosphorus is an indicator of too much phosphorus in the water. Phosphorus attaches to sediment particles, so phosphorus and sediment pollution are linked. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for all plants and animals. But too much phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow in large, dense algal blooms, which depletes oxygen for fish and other marine organisms.
How is it measured?
Total phosphorus was measured at approximately 159 stations up to 8 times during the periods of interest (April to October). Total phosphorus is the amount of dissolved phosphate and organophosphate in the water. The proportion of time that total phosphorus was above the threshold at each station was calculated.
Total phosphorus was measured year round. Data from 2012-2017 was used for the 2019 report card. Data from 2013-2018 was used for the 2020 report card. Data from 2014-2019 was used for the 2021 report card. Total phosphorus is the amount of dissolved phosphate and organophosphate in the water. The proportion of time that total phosphorus was above the threshold at each station was calculated. Station scores were averaged to HUC12. HUC12 scores were area-weighted to the reporting region scores.
Thresholds were determined by salinity regime.
|Salinity Regime||Reference Community Thresholds (mg L-1)*|
Thresholds were determined by bioregion.*
|Score||Piedmont, Ridges, and Valleys Thresholds (mg L-1)||Coastal Plain thresholds (mg L-1)|
|4||≥0.01 - <0.03||≥0.02 - <0.06|
|3||≥0.03 - <0.05||≥0.06 - <0.09|
|2||≥0.05 - <0.06||≥0.09 - <0.12|
|1||≥0.06 - <0.09||≥0.12 - <0.17|