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Streams flowing through cropland in the Midwestern Corn Belt differ considerably in their chemical and ecological characteristics, even though agricultural land use is highly intensive throughout the entire region. These differences likely are attributable to differences in riparian vegetation, soil properties, and hydrology. This conclusion is based on results from a study of the upper Midwest region conducted during seasonally low-flow conditions in August 1997 by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. This report summarizes significant results from the study and presents some implications for the design and interpretation of water-quality monitoring and assessment studies based on these results.
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Influence of natural factors on the quality of midwestern streams and rivers