Using a geographic information system, a regression model has been developed to identify and to assess potential sources of selenium in the Kendrick Reclamation Project Area, Wyoming. A variety of spatially distributed factors was examined to determine which factors are most likely to affect selenium discharge in tributaries to the North Platte River. Areas of Upper Cretaceous Cody Shale and Quaternary alluvial deposits and irrigated land, length of irrigation canals, and boundaries of hydrologic subbasins of the major tributaries to the North Platte River were digitized and stored in a geographic information system. Selenium concentrations in samples of soil, plant material, ground water, and surface water were determined and evaluated. The location of all sampling sites was digitized and stored in the geographic information system, together with the selenium concentrations in samples. A regression model was developed using stepwise multiple regression of median selenium discharges on the physical and chemical characteristics of hydrologic subbasins. Results indicate that the intensity of irrigation in a hydrologic subbasin, as determined by area of irrigated land and length of irrigation delivery canals, accounts for the largest variation in median selenium discharges among subbasins. Tributaries draining hydrologic subbasins with greater intensity of irrigation result in greater selenium discharges to the North Platte River than do tributaries draining subbasins with lesser intensity of irrigation.
Additional publication details
GIS-assisted regression analysis to identify sources of selenium in streams