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Variations in land use and nonpoint-source contamination on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, west-central North Dakota, 1990-93

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4007

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Abstract

The effects of land-use activities on the water quality of five streams on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation were evaluated. The five basinsevaluated were East Fork Shell Creek, Deepwater Creek, Bear Den Creek, Moccasin Creek, and Squaw Creek. East Fork Shell Creek and DeepwaterCreek Basins are located east of Lake Sakakawea and Bear Den Creek, Moccasin Creek, and Squaw Creek Basins are located west of the lake. Land-use data for the five selected basins on and adjacent to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation were obtained for 1990-92. Discharge measurements were made and water-quality samples were collected at stations and sites on each of the five streams during October 1991 through September 1993. Analysis of land-use data indicated that prairie was the largest land-use category in the study area. More prairie acreage was found in the basins located west of Lake Sakakawea than in the basins located east of the lake. Wheat was the predominant crop in the study area. More wheat acreage was found in the basins located east of Lake Sakakawea than in the basins located west of the lake. Discharge data for the five selected streams indicated that all of thestreams were ephemeral and had many days of no flow during the study period. High flows were usually the result of spring runoff or intense storms over the basins. East Fork Shell Creek and Deepwater Creek with larger basins and flatter stream slopes had high flows characterized by rapidly rising flows and gradually receding flows. In contrast, Bear DenCreek, Moccasin Creek, and Squaw Creek with smaller basins and steeper stream slopes had high flows characterized by rapidly rising flows and receding flows of shorter duration. Analysis of water-quality samples indicated concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus, and total organic carbon varied throughout the study area. Nitrogen concentrations were larger in the streams located east of LakeSakakawea than in the streams located west of the lake. The largest nitrogen concentrations in all of the streams occurred during the nongrowing periods.Phosphorus (orthophosphate and total phosphorus)concentrations were larger in the streams located east of Lake Sakakawea than in the streams located west of the lake. The larger orthophosphateconcentrations in the eastern streams may be indicative of insecticide application in the eastern streams' basins. Total organic carbon concentrations were fairly consistent in all five streams. Water- quality samples were analyzed for the pesticides atrazine, carbofuran, cyanazine, and 2,4-D by using immunoassay testing. Pesticide concentrations above the minimum reporting levels were more prevalent insamples from streams located east of Lake Sakakawea than in the streams located west of the lake. The eastern streams drain areas where herbicides were applied to crops. Fecal-bacteria concentrations were larger in the streams located west of Lake Sakakawea, where prairie is more dominant, than in the streams located east of the lake. The larger concentrations and loads were associated with intense storm events and the presence of livestock.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Variations in land use and nonpoint-source contamination on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, west-central North Dakota, 1990-93
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
96-4007
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section,
Description:
iv, 33 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.