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Percentile Distributions of Median Nitrite Plus Nitrate as Nitrogen, Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus Concentrations in Oklahoma Streams, 1973-2001

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2003-4084

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Abstract

Nutrients are one of the primary causes of water-quality impairments in streams, lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed regional-based nutrient criteria using ecoregions to protect streams in the United States from impairment. However, nutrient criteria were based on nutrient concentrations measured in large aggregated nutrient ecoregions with little relevance to local environmental conditions in states. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is using a dichotomous process known as Use Support Assessment Protocols to define nutrient criteria in Oklahoma streams. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is modifying the Use Support Assessment Protocols to reflect nutrient informa-tion and environmental characteristics relevant to Oklahoma streams, while considering nutrient information grouped by geographic regions based on level III ecoregions and state boundaries. Percentile distributions of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorous concentrations were calculated from 563 sites in Oklahoma and 4 sites in Arkansas near the Oklahoma and Arkansas border to facilitate development of nutrient criteria for Oklahoma streams. Sites were grouped into four geographic regions and were categorized into eight stream categories by stream slope and stream order. The 50th percentiles of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus concentrations were greater in the Ozark Highland ecoregion and were less in the Ouachita Mountains ecoregion when compared to other geographic areas used to group sites. The 50th percentiles of median concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus were least in first, second, and third order streams. The 50th percentiles of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations in the Ozark Highland and Ouachita Mountains ecoregions were least in first, second, and third order streams with streams slopes greater than 17 feet per mile. Nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen and total nitrogen criteria determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Ozark Highland ecoregion were less than the 25th percentiles of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus concentrations in the Ozark Highland ecoregion calculated for this report. Nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen and total nitrogen criteria developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Ouachita Mountains ecoregion were similar to the 25th percentiles of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen and total nitrogen concentrations in the Ouachita Mountains ecoregion calculated for this report. Nitrate as nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations currently (2002) used in the Use Support Assessment Protocols for Oklahoma were greater than the 75th percentiles of median nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations calculated for this report.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Percentile Distributions of Median Nitrite Plus Nitrate as Nitrogen, Total Nitrogen, and Total Phosphorus Concentrations in Oklahoma Streams, 1973-2001
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
2003-4084
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2003
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
24 p.