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Trends in the quality of water in New Jersey streams, water years 1971–2011

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5176

Prepared in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission
By:
and
DOI:10.3133/sir20165176

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  • Document: Report (7.38 MB pdf)
  • Data Release: USGS data release - Input data and results of WRTDS models and seasonal rank-sum tests to determine trends in the quality of water in New Jersey streams, water years 1971-2011
  • Download citation as: RIS

Abstract

In a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission, trend tests were conducted on selected water-quality characteristics measured at stations on streams in New Jersey during selected periods over water years 1971‒2011. Tests were conducted on 3 nutrients (total nitrogen, filtered nitrate plus nitrite, and total phosphorus) at 28 water-quality stations. At 4 of these stations, tests were also conducted on 3 measures of major ions (specific conductance, filtered chloride, and total dissolved solids).

Two methods were used to identify trends—Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) models and seasonal rank-sum tests. For this report, the use of WRTDS models included the use of the WRTDS Bootstrap Test (WBT). WRTDS models identified trends in flow-normalized annual concentrations and flow-normalized annual fluxes over water years 1980‒2011 and 2000‒11 for each nutrient, filtered chloride, and total dissolved solids. WRTDS models were developed for each nutrient at the 20 or 21 stations at which streamflow was measured or estimated. Trends in nutrient concentration were reported for these stations; trends in nutrient fluxes were reported only for 15–17 of these stations.

The results of WRTDS models for water years 1980‒2011 identified more stations with downward trends in concentrations of either total nitrogen or total phosphorus than upward trends. For total nitrogen, there were downward trends at 9 stations and an upward trend at 1 station. For total phosphorus, there were downward trends at 8 stations and an upward trend at 1 station. For filtered nitrate plus nitrite, there were downward trends at 6 stations and upward trends at 6 stations. The result of the trend test in flux for a selected nutrient at a selected station (downward trend, no trend, or upward trend) usually matched the trend result in concentration.

Seasonal rank-sum tests, the second method used, identified step trends in water-quality measured in different decades—1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Tests were conducted on all nutrients at 28 stations and on all measures of major ions at the 4 selected stations. Results of seasonal rank-sum tests between the 1980s and the 2000s identified more stations with downward trends in concentrations of total nitrogen (14) than stations with upward trends (2) and more stations with downward trends in concentrations of total phosphorus (18) than stations with upward trends (1).

A combined dataset of trend results for concentrations over water years 1980‒2011 was created from the results of the two tests for the period. Results of WRTDS models were included in this combined dataset, if available. Otherwise, the results of the seasonal rank-sum tests between water-quality characteristics measured in the 1980s and 2000s were included.

Trend results over water years 1980‒2011 in the combined dataset show that few of the 28 stations had upward trends in concentrations of either total nitrogen or total phosphorus. There were only 2 stations with upward trends in total nitrogen concentration and 1 station with an upward trend in total phosphorus concentration. Results for filtered nitrate plus nitrite show about the same number of stations with upward trends (9) as stations with downward trends (7). Results for all measures of major ions show upward trends at the four stations tested.

Suggested Citation

Hickman, R.E., and Hirsch, R.M., 2017, Trends in the quality of water in New Jersey streams, water years 1971–2011: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5176, 58 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165176.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Trends in the Quality of Water in New Jersey Streams, Water Years 1971–2011
  • Summary and Conclusions 
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Methods of Estimation of Daily Streamflows at Selected Water-Quality  Stations on Streams in New Jersey 
  • Appendix 2. Discussion of the Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season Bootstrap Test
  • Appendix 3. The Number of Measurements of Selected Water-Quality Characteristics  at Selected Stations on Streams in New Jersey during Water Years 1971–2011
  • Appendix 4. Selected Results of Seasonal Rank-Sum Tests and Results of Trend Tests Reported in Previous Studies at Stations on Streams in New Jersey, for Periods  during Water Years 1971–2011

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Trends in the quality of water in New Jersey streams, water years 1971–2011
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5176
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165176
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
New Jersey Water Science Center
Description:
Report: vi, 58 p.; Data release
Country:
United States
State:
New Jersey
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
Y