Regression models were developed for predicting annual maximum and selected annual maximum moving-average concentrations of atrazine in streams using the Watershed Regressions for Pesticides (WARP) methodology developed by the National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The current effort builds on the original WARP models, which were based on the annual mean and selected percentiles of the annual frequency distribution of atrazine concentrations. Estimates of annual maximum and annual maximum moving-average concentrations for selected durations are needed to characterize the levels of atrazine and other pesticides for comparison to specific water-quality benchmarks for evaluation of potential concerns regarding human health or aquatic life.
Separate regression models were derived for the annual maximum and annual maximum 21-day, 60-day, and 90-day moving-average concentrations. Development of the regression models used the same explanatory variables, transformations, model development data, model validation data, and regression methods as those used in the original development of WARP. The models accounted for 72 to 75 percent of the variability in the concentration statistics among the 112 sampling sites used for model development. Predicted concentration statistics from the four models were within a factor of 10 of the observed concentration statistics for most of the model development and validation sites.
Overall, performance of the models for the development and validation sites supports the application of the WARP models for predicting annual maximum and selected annual maximum moving-average atrazine concentration in streams and provides a framework to interpret the predictions in terms of uncertainty. For streams with inadequate direct measurements of atrazine concentrations, the WARP model predictions for the annual maximum and the annual maximum moving-average atrazine concentrations can be used to characterize the probable levels of atrazine for comparison to specific water-quality benchmarks. Sites with a high probability of exceeding a benchmark for human health or aquatic life can be prioritized for monitoring.
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USGS Numbered Series
Watershed Regressions for Pesticides (WARP) for Predicting Annual Maximum and Annual Maximum Moving-Average Concentrations of Atrazine in Streams