In 1998, a 5 river-mile reach of the Jacks Fork was included on Missouri's list of impaired waters as required by Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act. The identified pollutant on the Jacks Fork was fecal coliform bacteria. The length of the impaired reach was changed to 7 miles on the Missouri 2002 303(d) list because of data indicating the fecal coliform bacteria problem existed over a broader area. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service, conducted a study to better understand the extent and sources of microbiological contamination within the Jacks Fork from Alley Spring to the mouth, which includes the 7-mile 303(d) reach. Ten sites were sampled from June 2003 through October 2003 and from June 2004 through October 2004. Water-column and streambed sediment samples were collected from main-stem and tributary sites mostly during base-flow conditions during a variety of recreational season river uses and analyzed for fecal coliform and Escherichia coli bacteria. Isolates of Escherichia coli obtained from water samples collected at five sites were submitted for rep-PCR analysis to identify presumptive sources of fecal indicator bacteria in the Jacks Fork. Results indicate that recreational users (including boaters and swimmers) are not the primary source of fecal coliform bacteria in the Jacks Fork; rather, the presence of fecal coliform bacteria is associated with other animals, of which horses are the primary source. Increases in fecal coliform bacteria densities in the Jacks Fork are associated with cross-country horseback trail-riding events.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Assessment of possible sources of microbiological contamination in the water column and streambed sediment of the Jacks Fork, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri - Phase III