Data from two U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) national stream water-quality monitoring networks, the National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) and the Hydrologic Benchmark Network (HBN), are now available in a two CD-ROM set. These data on CD-ROM are collectively referred to as WQN, water-quality networks. Data from these networks have been used at the national, regional, and local levels to estimate the rates of chemical flux from watersheds, quantify changes in stream water quality for periods during the past 30 years, and investigate relations between water quality and streamflow as well as the relations of water quality to pollution sources and various physical characteristics of watersheds.
The networks include 679 monitoring stations in watersheds that represent diverse climatic, physiographic, and cultural characteristics. The HBN includes 63 stations in relatively small, minimally disturbed basins ranging in size from 2 to 2,000 square miles with a median drainage basin size of 57 square miles. NASQAN includes 618 stations in larger, more culturally-influenced drainage basins ranging in size from one square mile to 1.2 million square miles with a median drainage basin size of about 4,000 square miles.
The CD-ROMs contain data for 63 physical, chemical, and biological properties of water (122 total constituents including analyses of dissolved and water suspended-sediment samples) collected during more than 60,000 site visits. These data approximately span the periods 1962-95 for HBN and 1973-95 for NASQAN. The data reflect sampling over a wide range of streamflow conditions and the use of relatively consistent sampling and analytical methods.
The CD-ROMs provide ancillary information and data-retrieval tools to allow the national network data to be properly and efficiently used. Ancillary information includes the following: descriptions of the network objectives and history, characteristics of the network stations and water-quality data, historical records of important changes in network sample collection and laboratory analytical methods, water reference sample data for estimating laboratory measurement bias and variability for 34 dissolved constituents for the period 1985-95, discussions of statistical methods for using water reference sample data to evaluate the accuracy of network stream water-quality data, and a bibliography of scientific investigations using national network data and other publications relevant to the networks.
The data structure of the CD-ROMs is designed to allow users to efficiently enter the water-quality data to user-supplied software packages including statistical analysis, modeling, or geographic information systems. On one disc, all data are stored in ASCII form accessible from any computer system with a CD-ROM driver. The data also can be accessed using DOS-based retrieval software supplied on a second disc. This software supports logical queries of the water-quality data based on constituent concentrations, sample- collection date, river name, station name, county, state, hydrologic unit number, and 1990 population and 1987 land-cover characteristics for station watersheds. User-selected data may be output in a variety of formats including dBASE, flat ASCII, delimited ASCII, or fixed-field for subsequent use in other software packages.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Data from selected U.S. Geological Survey national stream water-quality monitoring networks (WQN) on CD-ROM
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Branch of Information Services [distributor],