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Simulated effects of surface coal mining and agriculture on dissolved solids in the Redwater River, east-central Montana

Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4180

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and

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Abstract

Dissolved solids concentrations in five reaches of the Redwater River in east-central Montana were simulated to evaluate the effects of surface coal mining and agriculture. A mass-balance model of streamflow and dissolved solids load developed for the Tongue River in southeastern Montana was modified and applied to the Redwater River. Mined acreages, dissolved solids concentrations in mined spoils, and irrigated acreage can be varied in the model to study relative changes in the dissolved solids concentration in consecutive reaches of the river. Because of extreme variability and a limited amount of data, the model was not consecutively validated. Simulated mean and median monthly mean streamflows and consistently larger than those calculated from streamflow records. Simulated mean and median monthly mean dissolved solids loads also are consistently larger than regression-derived values. These discrepancies probably result from extremely variable streamflow, overestimates of streamflow from ungaged tributaries, and weak correlations between streamflow and dissolved solids concentrations. The largest increases in simulated dissolved solids concentrations from mining and agriculture occur from September through January because of smaller streamflows and dissolved solids loads. Different combinations of agriculture and mining under mean flow conditions resulted in cumulative percentage increases of dissolved solids concentrations of less than 5% for mining and less than 2% for agriculture. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Simulated effects of surface coal mining and agriculture on dissolved solids in the Redwater River, east-central Montana
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
85-4180
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1985
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 69 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.