The Neuse River Estuary Modeling and Monitoring Project (ModMon) is a collaborative effort between the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (NC-DENR). ModMon is funded by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (Division of Water Resources, DWR), the Lower Neuse Basin Association (LNBA), and the Neuse River Compliance Association (NRCA). It supports North Carolina’s needs for space and time-intensive monitoring and assessment of water quality and environmental conditions; including nutrient-eutrophication dynamics, algal blooms, hypoxia, fish kills and related issues pertinent to the public’s interests and the ability of NC-DENR’s-Division of Water Resources (DWR) to provide science-based management decisions. ModMon is the main source of data for calibration, verification and validation of water quality models being used to adaptively test and manage the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Neuse River Estuary (NRE). ModMon also serves State and federal agencies (EPA, NOAA, NASA) as a ground-truthing data source for aircraft and satellite-based remote sensing of chlorophyll, turbidity and harmful algal blooms.
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To fill DENR’s needs for optimal vertical resolution of water quality criteria needed to evaluate the TMDL, ModMon has been involved in the deployment and calibration of automated vertical profilers (AVPs). The AVPs produce depth profiles on chlorophyll-a and other critical water quality indicators, including turbidity, dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature, by using in-stream sensors. This, combined with the ModMon sampling throughout the Neuse R. Estuary and the NC Ferry based water quality monitoring program, FerryMon, provide the quality and quantity of data as well as the statistical procedures necessary for making scientifically sound evaluations of the TMDL.