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Evaluation of Nonpoint-Source Contamination, Wisconsin; Land-Use and Best-Management-Practices Inventory, Selected Streamwater-Quality Data, Urban-Watershed Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Constituent Loads in Rural Streams, and Snowmelt-Runoff Analysis, Water Year 1994

Open-File Report 95-320

Prepared in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
By:
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Abstract

The objective of the watershed-management evaluation monitoring program in Wisconsin is to evaluate the effectiveness of best-management practices (BMP) for controlling nonpoint-source contamination in rural and urban watersheds. This report is an annual summary of the data collected for the program by the U.S Geological Survey and a report of the results of several different detailed analyses of the data. A land-use and BMP inventory is ongoing for 12 evaluation monitoring projects to track the sources of nonpoint-source pollution in each watershed and to document implementation of BMP's that may cause changes in the water quality of streams. Updated information is gathered each year, mapped, and stored in a geographic-information-system data base. Summaries of data collected during water years 1989-94 are presented. A water year is the period beginning October 1 and ending September 30; the water year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. Suspended-sediment and total-phosphorus data (storm loads and annual loads) are summarized for eight rural sites. For all sites, the annual suspended-sediment or suspended-solids load for water year 1993 exceeded the average for the period of data collection; the minimum annual loads were transported in water year 1991 or 1992. Continuous dissolved-oxygen data were collected at seven rural sites during water year 1994. Data for water years 1990-93 are summarized and plotted in terms of percentage of time that a particular concentration is equaled or exceeded. Dissolved-oxygen concentrations in four streams were less than 9 mg/L at least 50 percent of the time, a condition that fails to meet suggested criterion for coldwater streams. The dissolved-oxygen probability curve for one of the coldwater streams is markedly different than the curves for the other streams, perhaps because of differences in aquatic biomass. Blank quality-assurance samples were collected at two of the urban evaluation monitoring sites to isolate contamination in the sample bottle, the automatic sampler and splitter, and the filtration system. Significant contamination caused excessive concentrations of dissolved chloride, alkalinity, and biochemical oxygen demand. The level of contamination may be large enough to affect data for water samples in which these analytes are present at low concentration. Further investigation is being done to determine the source of contamination and take measures to minimize its effect on the sampling. A preliminary regression analysis was done for the rural sites using data collected during water years 1989-93. Loads of suspended solids and total phosphorus in stormflow were regressed against various precipitation-related measures. The results indicate that, for most sites, changes in constituent load on the order of 40 to 50 percent could be detected with a statistical test. For two sites, the change would have to be 60 to 70 percent to be detected. A detailed comparison of snowmelt runoff and rainfall stormflow in urban and rural areas was done using data collected during water years 1985-93. For the rural sites where statistically significant differences were found between constituent loads in snowmelt and storm runoff, the loads of suspended solids and total phosphorus in snowmelt runoff were greater than those in storm runoff. For the urban sites where statistically significant differences were found between snowmelt and storm runoff, the loads of suspended solids and total phosphorus in storm runoff were greater than those in snowmelt runoff. The importance of including snowmelt runoff in designing and analyzing the effects of BMP's on streamwater quality, particularly in rural areas, is emphasized by these results.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Evaluation of Nonpoint-Source Contamination, Wisconsin; Land-Use and Best-Management-Practices Inventory, Selected Streamwater-Quality Data, Urban-Watershed Quality Assurance and Quality Control, Constituent Loads in Rural Streams, and Snowmelt-Runoff Analysis, Water Year 1994
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
95-320
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1995
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Wisconsin Water Science Center
Description:
iv, 21 p.