Reconnaissance of surface-water resources in the Kobuk River basin, Alaska, 1979-80

Water-Resources Investigations Report 83-4027




Surface water data were collected at selected sites in the Kobuk River Basin in northwest Alaska in August 1979 and April 1980. In August 1979, frequent heavy rains caused abnormally high flows in the basin; unit runoff values, computed from discharge measurements at 25 sites, ranged from 0.08 to 12.2 cu ft/sec/sq mi. Mean unit runoff for August computed from 13 years of record at a stream gaging station on the Kobuk River ranged from 1 to 3 cu ft/sec/sq mi. Unit runoff computed from discharge measurements made at eight sites in April 1980 ranged from 0 to 0.30 cubic feet per second per square mile. These values are in reasonable agreement with those derived from the record at the gaging station. High-water marks of maximum evident floods and evidence of ice-affected flooding were found at near bankfull stages at 17 sites on the Kobuk River and its tributaries. Computed unit runoff for the maximum evident floods generally decreases with increasing drainage area. Unit runoff ranges from about 50 to 75 cu ft/sec/sq mi for drainage areas < 1,000 sq mi to < 25 cu ft/sec/sq mi for larger areas. Field determinations were made of water temperature, pH, alkalinity, dissolved-oxygen concentration, and specific conductance, and discharge was measured at about 40 stream sites and one spring. Water samples for laboratory analysis of dissolved inorganic constituents and biological samples were collected in August 1979. Water quality data indicate that the surface waters would be acceptable for most uses; they are a calcium bicarbonate type having dissolved-solids concentrations between 50 and 140 milligm/liter. The pristine nature of the waters is also indicated by the overall diversity and composition of its benthic invertebrate community. A more highly mineralized (about 550 milligm/liter dissolved solids) sodium bicarbonate water flows from Reed River Hot Spring. (USGS)

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Reconnaissance of surface-water resources in the Kobuk River basin, Alaska, 1979-80
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 35 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.