Hydrologic data for the Big Spring basin, Clayton County, Iowa, water year 1991

Open-File Report 94-56

Prepared in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Geological Survey Bureau)



Hydrologic data were collected in the Big Spring Basin located in Clayton County, Iowa, during the 1991 water year. The data were collected by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Geological Survey Bureau, to provide information on variation and movement of agricultural chemicals in the hydrologic cycle in the basin. Precipitation, surface-water, and ground-water data were collected.

The largest amount of rainfall during water year 1991 (54.69 inches) was measured at the monitoring site on Unnamed Creek near Luana. The largest monthly rainfall (14.72 inches) occurred in June. Analyses of 39 rain samples indicated that calcium and sulfate were the predominant ions and that median concentrations of nitrate and ammonia as nitrogen were 0.36 and 0.49 mg/L (milligrams per liter), respectively.

Stream discharge, specific conductance, pH, and water temperature were monitored continuously, and monthly water-quality samples were collected at a site on Roberts Creek and at Big Spring. Nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen concentrations in 27 samples from Roberts Creek at the point where it leaves the study area ranged from 1.8 to 22 mg/L. Herbicide concentrations in 26 samples from the Roberts Creek site ranged from less than 0.10 μg/L (micrograms per liter) to 43 μg/L. Alachlor was detected in 42 percent of the samples; atrazine in 92 percent; and cyanazine and metolachlor in 35 percent of the samples. The total suspended-sediment load discharged in Roberts Creek was about 160,000 tons. At Big Spring, the ground-water discharge point, the daily mean specific conductance ranged from 414 to 788 microsiemens per centimeter at 25 degrees Celsius, the daily median pH ranged from 6.7 to 7.1, and the daily mean water temperature ranged from 8.5 to 13.0 degrees Celsius. Concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate as nitrogen in 23 samples ranged from 4.2 to 17 mg/L. The total measured suspended-sediment discharged from Big Spring was about 17,000 tons. Alachlor was detected in 26 percent; atrazine in 100 percent; cyanazine in 26 percent, and metolachlor in 9 percent of the samples. The maximum atrazine concentration was 16 μg/L.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic data for the Big Spring basin, Clayton County, Iowa, water year 1991
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Iowa City, IA
Contributing office(s):
Iowa Water Science Center
vi, 87 p.: ill., maps; 28 cm.
United States
Clayton County
Other Geospatial:
Big Spring basin
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