Sampling design for assessing water quality of the Red River of the North basin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 1993-1995

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4129




This map report describes the sampling design for a comprehensive regional assessment of water quality in the Red River of the North Basin, a study unit under the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Water-Quality Assessment Program. The sampling design was developed to address questions about the presence, distribution, and loads of nutrients and pesticides associated with large agricultural regions in the basin and across the Nation. The design also begins to address major local and regional concerns about suspended sediment in surface water and naturally occurring salinity in ground water. Recognizing that the Red River of the North Basin study unit realistically could not be analyzed as a single homogeneous area, a hierarchical sampling stratification for assessing water quality was developed. Landscape features consisting of physiography, soils, land cover and land use, and cropping patterns provided the environmental framework for stratification of streams and surficial aquifers. The environmental framework characterizes the climate and hydrology and relates closely to an ecoregions framework. The environmental and ecoregions frameworks were considered in locating ecological sampling sites. For the subsurface framework, buried sand and gravel aquifers in study unit were subdivided into two general subregions of differing potential saline recharge from underlying bedrock aquifers.

Actual sampling sites for streams, aquatic biology, and ground water were described within the proposed sampling stratification. Practical considerations of previously established sampling sites, background information from previous hydrologic investigations, and site suitability for sampling protocols also were considered for final site selection.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Sampling design for assessing water quality of the Red River of the North basin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, 1993-1995
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Mounds View, MN
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center, North Dakota Water Science Center, Dakota Water Science Center
Document: 4 p.; 2 Plates: 46.35 x 38.28 inches and 46.41 x 38.29 inches
United States
Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota
Other Geospatial:
Red River of the North Basin
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