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Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J

Great Falls of the Passaic River at Paterson, N.J.




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Barnegat Bay Modeling

Project Title:Barnegat Bay Modeling
Project Number: LJ00ETY
Project Chief:
Project Start Date: 01-NOV-2011
Project End Date: 30-SEP-2014

Project Objectives

The primary objectives of this proposed study are to examine the water-quality causes of eutrophication in the BB-LEH Estuary and evaluate options for addressing this problem. This will be accomplished by developing mathematical models to evaluate current flow and water-quality conditions and potential future changes in the estuary. The models will account for sediment transport processes in the estuary as well as flow/loads from the land portion of the watershed.

The proposed modeling analysis will provide:

  • Calibrated and documented hydrodynamic and water-quality models of the BB-LEH Estuary available for public use.
  • An evaluation of model calibration and sensitivity of a selected number of input parameters.
  • Analysis of four scenarios to evaluate the effects of different flow and water-quality conditions in the Estuary.

Results will provide insight to the development of nutrient-loading criteria that are linked, along with other factors, to an acceptable level of estuarine productivity.

Statement of Problem

The development of hydrodynamic and water-quality models is proposed to provide NJDEP with the necessary analytical capability to address critical management issues relating to water quality and eutrophication in the Barnegat Bay-Little Egg Harbor Estuary.

Strategy and Approach

To adequately address these issues within the BB-LEH Estuary, a multidimensional, time-dependent, coupled hydrodynamic and water-quality modeling approach is proposed. Modeling eutrophication in the shallow bays and river mouths that comprise the BB-LEH Estuary requires an understanding of complex interactions among many processes: the circulation of water, temperature and salinity distributions, the cycling of nutrients and transformation pathways, algal dynamics, dispersion of chemical and thermal loads, benthic exchanges, and sediment transport and diagenesis. Two main modeling frameworks proposed for the BB-LEH Estuary are as follows:

  • Hydrodynamic Model:  The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) (Warner and others, 2008) will be used to model tidal dynamics and bay water circulation as well as temperature, salinity and sediment distribution and transport. This model provides critical information to eutrophication and sediment transport models, including water velocities and circulation patterns, mixing and dispersion, water temperature, sediment distribution, and density stratification. Model output will be used as boundary-forcing conditions for the follow-on water-quality model.
  • Water Quality Model:  The Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) (Wool and others, 2003) will be used to model estuarine water quality (dissolved oxygen, oxygen demands, nutrient speciation, sediment diagenesis, and phytoplankton). The model incorporates the effects of watershed loading, regional climate, and the geometry and internal characteristics and processes of the system.


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