Organic carbon, nutrient, and suspended sediment concentration data were analyzed for the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins for the period 1980-2000. The data were retrieved from three sources: the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Information System, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Storage and Retrieval System, and the California Interagency Ecological Program's relational database. Twenty sites were selected, all of which had complete records of daily streamflow data. These data met the minimal requirements of the statistical programs used to estimate trends, loads, and yields.
The seasonal Kendall program was used to estimate trends in organic carbon, nutrient, and suspended sediment. At all 20 sites, analyses showed that in the 145 analyses for the seven constituents, 95 percent of the analyses had no significant trend. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were significant only for four sites: the American River at Sacramento, the Sacramento River sites near Freeport, Orestimba Creek at River Roads near Crows Landing, and the San Joaquin River near Vernalis.
Loads were calculated using two programs, ESTIMATOR and LOADEST2. The 1998 water year was selected to describe loads in the Sacramento River Basin. Organic carbon, nutrient, and suspended sediment loads at the Sacramento River sites near Freeport included transported loads from two main upstream sites: the Sacramento River at Verona and the American River at Sacramento. Loads in the Sacramento River Basin were affected by the amount of water diverted to the Yolo Bypass (the amount varies annually, depending on the precipitation and streamflow). Loads at the Sacramento River sites near Freeport were analyzed for two hydrologic seasons: the irrigation season (April to September) and the nonirrigation season (October to March). DOC loads are lower during the irrigation season then they are during the nonirrigation season. During the irrigation season, water with low concentrations of DOC is released from reservoirs and used for irrigation. On the other hand, during the nonirrigation season, streamflow results from surface water runoff and has higher concentrations of organic carbon, nutrients, and suspended sediment.
The 1986 and 1987 water years were selected to describe loads in the San Joaquin River Basin. Organic carbon, nutrient, and suspended sediment loads in the San Joaquin River near Vernalis included transported loads from upstream sites, such as the Mud and Salt Sloughs, the Merced River at River Roads Bridge near Newman, the Tuolumne River at Modesto, and the Stanislaus River at Ripon. Loads at the San Joaquin River near Vernalis also were analyzed for the two seasons. The DOC load for the San Joaquin River at Vernalis is slightly higher during the irrigation season.
Yields were calculated in an attempt to rank the subbasins in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins. Five sites delivered streamflow from agricultural and urban sources that had relatively high yields of organic carbon: Sacramento Slough near Knights Landing, Arcade Creek near Del Paso Heights, Salt Slough, Mud Slough, and Colusa Basin Drain at Road 99E near Knights Landing.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Organic Carbon Trends, Loads, and Yields to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California, Water Years 1980 to 2000