The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has monitored the water quality in the Rio Grande Basin as part of the redesigned National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) since 1995 (Hooper and others, 1997). The NASQAN program was designed to characterize the concentrations and transport of sediment and selected chemical constituents found in the Nation's large rivers-including the Mississippi, Colorado, and Columbia in addition to the Rio Grande. In these four basins, the USGS currently (1998) operates a network of 40 NASQAN sites, with an emphasis on quantifying the mass flux for each constituent (the amount of material moving past the site, expressed in tons per day).
By applying a consistent flux-based approach in the Rio Grande Basin, the NASQAN program is generating the information needed to identify regional sources for a variety of constituents, including agricultural chemicals and trace elements, in the basin. The effect of the large reservoirs on the Rio Grande can be observed as constituent fluxes are routed downstream. The analysis of constituent fluxes on a basin-wide scale will provide the means to assess the influence of human activity on water-quality conditions in the Rio Grande.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Monitoring The Water Quality of the Nation's Large Rivers: Rio Grande NASQAN Program