Trends in Groundwater Levels, and Orthophosphate and Nitrate Concentrations in the Middle Snake River Region, South-Central Idaho
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) evaluated nitrate and orthophosphate concentrations in groundwater for temporal trends (monotonic and step trends) for the middle Snake River region (Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls Counties) in south-central Idaho using the Regional Kendall test (monotonic trends) and the Wilcoxon signed rank test (step trends). The study evaluated two trend periods: 2000–09 and 2010–19/20. The study area was divided into six hydrogeologic zones (HZs) that had similar geologic and hydrologic characteristics and that correlated with county boundaries where possible. Two well networks sampled by the USGS National Water Quality Program within the HZs were also evaluated.
The northern Gooding County HZ had statistically significant increasing nitrate concentration trends for both the monotonic and step trends in the early trend period, while the Cassia and Jerome/Southern Gooding County HZs only had one of the statistical tests with statistically significant increasing nitrate concentrations. The Minidoka County HZ had conflicting results between the two statistical tests for the early time period with a statistically significant increasing monotonic trend in nitrate concentration and a statistically significant decreasing step trend. The differing results between these two statistical tests indicates the significance of concentration data during the middle of the time period. Both the Lincoln and Twin Falls County HZs did not have statistically significant trends for either test during either time period as well as the Northern Gooding County HZ for the latter time period. The Minidoka County HZ had statistically significant nitrate trends for both tests in the latter time period along with one of the trend tests for the Cassia and Jerome/Southern Gooding County HZ. Most of the nitrate concentration trend rates are low from 0.01 to 0.12 milligram per liter per year (mg/L/year) with the northern Gooding County HZ having the highest trend rate during the early time period of 0.28 mg/L/year for the step trend and 0.55 mg/L/year for the monotonic trend.
All the HZs and both well networks had statistically significant increasing orthophosphate-concentrations trends in groundwater for the early time period except for the Lincoln County HZ and the step-trend for the Minidoka County HZ. Orthophosphate concentration trend rates for the early period were low, ranging from 0.001 to 0.015 mg/L/year. Only two HZs and the well networks had enough orthophosphate concentration data available in the latter time period to do statistical analysis. The two HZs (Minidoka and Southern Gooding/Jerome County) both have decreasing orthophosphate concentration trends, with only the monotonic trend for the Southern Gooding/Jerome County HZ being statistically significant at 90 percent with a rate of −0.001 mg/L/year.
Groundwater levels in two well networks in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer were also evaluated for trends (monotonic and step), with both networks having statistically significant declining groundwater levels for the 1993–2009 trend period. The latter trend period (2010–20) had statistically significant declining groundwater levels for the A&B well network and statistically significant increasing groundwater levels for the Jerome/Gooding well network, which is downgradient from an aquifer recharge area.
Skinner, K.D., 2022, Trends in groundwater levels, and orthophosphate and nitrate concentrations in the Middle Snake River Region, south-central Idaho: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2022–5060, 18 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20225060.
ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)
Table of Contents
- References Cited
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Title||Trends in groundwater levels, and orthophosphate and nitrate concentrations in the Middle Snake River Region, south-central Idaho|
|Series title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Publisher||U.S. Geological Survey|
|Publisher location||Reston, VA|
|Contributing office(s)||Idaho Water Science Center|
|Description||vii, 18 p.|
|Other Geospatial||Middle Snake River region|
|Online Only (Y/N)||Y|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|