Samples collected during the exploration phase of mining represent baseline conditions at the site. As such, they can be very important in forecasting potential environmental impacts should mining proceed, and can become measurements against which future changes are compared. Constituents in stream water draining mined and mineralized areas tend to be geochemically, spatially, and temporally variable, which presents challenges in collecting both exploration and baseline water-quality samples. Because short-term (daily) variations can complicate long-term trends, it is important to consider recent findings concerning geochemical variability of stream-water constituents at short-term timescales in designing sampling plans. Also, adequate water-quality information is key to forecasting potential ecological impacts from mining. Therefore, it is useful to collect baseline water samples adequate tor geochemical and toxicological modeling. This requires complete chemical analyses of dissolved constituents that include major and minor chemical elements as well as physicochemical properties (including pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen) and dissolved organic carbon. Applying chemical-equilibrium and appropriate toxicological models to water-quality information leads to an understanding of the speciation, transport, sequestration, bioavailability, and aquatic toxicity of potential contaminants. Insights gained from geochemical and toxicological modeling of water-quality data can be used to design appropriate mitigation and for economic planning for future mining activities.