Population growth and changes in land use have the potential to affect water quality and quantity in the upper Gunnison River basin. In 1995, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, City of Gunnison, Colorado River Water Conservation District, Crested Butte South Metropolitan District, Gunnison County, Hinsdale County, Mount Crested Butte Water and Sanitation District, National Park Service, Town of Crested Butte, Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, and Western State College established a water-quality monitoring program in the upper Gunnison River basin to characterize current water-quality conditions and to assess the effects of increased urban development and other land-use changes on water quality. The monitoring network has evolved into two groups of stations - stations that are considered long term and stations that are considered rotational. The long-term stations are monitored to assist in defining temporal changes in water quality (how conditions may change over time). The rotational stations are monitored to assist in the spatial definition of water-quality conditions (how conditions differ throughout the basin) and to address local and short-term concerns. Some stations in the rotational group were changed beginning in water year 2007. Annual summaries of the water-quality data from the monitoring network provide a point of reference for discussions regarding water-quality monitoring in the upper Gunnison River basin.
This summary includes data collected during water years 2006 and 2007. The introduction provides a map of the sampling sites, definitions of terms, and a one-page summary of selected water-quality conditions at the network stations. The remainder of the summary is organized around the data collected at individual stations. Data collected during water years 2006 and 2007 are compared to historical data, State water-quality standards, and Federal water-quality guidelines. Data were collected following USGS protocols (U.S. Geological Survey, variously dated).