This report summarizes results of a study to establish water-quality and geochemical baseline conditions within a small watershed in the Lake Superior region. In 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a survey of water-quality parameters and soil and streambed sediment geochemistry of the 83 mi2 Huron River Watershed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Streamflow was measured and water-quality samples collected at a range of flow conditions from six sites on the major tributaries of the Huron River. All water samples were analyzed for a suite of common ions, nutrients, and trace metals. In addition, water samples from each site were analyzed for unfiltered total and methylmercury once during summer low-flow conditions. Soil samples were collected from 31 sites, with up to 4 separate samples collected at each site, delineated by soil horizon. Streambed sediments were collected from 11 sites selected to cover most of the area drained by the Huron River system. USGS data were supplemented with ecological assessments completed in 2006 by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality using a modified version of their Great Lakes Environmental Assessment Section procedure 51, and again during 2008 using volunteers under supervision of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Results from this study define a hydrological, geological, and environmental baseline for the Huron River Watershed prior to any significant mineral exploration or development. Results from the project also serve to refine the design of future regional environmental baseline studies in the Lake Superior Basin.
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USGS Numbered Series
Environmental baseline study of the Huron River Watershed, Baraga and Marquette Counties, Michigan