The Cuyahoga River within Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) is at times impaired for recreational use due to elevated concentrations of Escherichia coli (E. coli), a fecal-indicator bacterium. During the recreational seasons of mid-May through September during 2009–11, samples were collected 4 days per week and analyzed for E. coli concentrations at two sites within CVNP. Other water-quality and environ-mental data, including turbidity, rainfall, and streamflow, were measured and (or) tabulated for analysis. Regression models developed to predict recreational water quality in the river were implemented during the recreational seasons of 2009–11 for one site within CVNP–Jaite. For the 2009 and 2010 seasons, the regression models were better at predicting exceedances of Ohio's single-sample standard for primary-contact recreation compared to the traditional method of using the previous day's E. coli concentration. During 2009, the regression model was based on data collected during 2005 through 2008, excluding available 2004 data. The resulting model for 2009 did not perform as well as expected (based on the calibration data set) and tended to overestimate concentrations (correct responses at 69 percent). During 2010, the regression model was based on data collected during 2004 through 2009, including all of the available data. The 2010 model performed well, correctly predicting 89 percent of the samples above or below the single-sample standard, even though the predictions tended to be lower than actual sample concentrations. During 2011, the regression model was based on data collected during 2004 through 2010 and tended to overestimate concentrations. The 2011 model did not perform as well as the traditional method or as expected, based on the calibration dataset (correct responses at 56 percent). At a second site—Lock 29, approximately 5 river miles upstream from Jaite, a regression model based on data collected at the site during the recreational seasons of 2008–10 also did not perform as well as the traditional method or as well as expected (correct responses at 60 percent). Above normal precipitation in the region and a delayed start to the 2011 sampling season (sampling began mid-June) may have affected how well the 2011 models performed. With these new data, however, updated regression models may be better able to predict recreational water quality conditions due to the increased amount of diverse water quality conditions included in the calibration data. Daily recreational water-quality predictions for Jaite were made available on the Ohio Nowcast Web site at www.ohionowcast.info. Other public outreach included signage at trailheads in the park, articles in the park's quarterly-published schedule of events and volunteer newsletters. A U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet was also published to bring attention to water-quality issues in the park.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Development and implementation of a regression model for predicting recreational water quality in the Cuyahoga River, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio 2009-11