Surface-Water-Quality Assessment of the Yakima River Basin, Washington

Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) Metadata:


Identification_Information:
Citation:
Citation_Information:
Originator: Jennifer L. Morace, Gregory J. Fuhrer, Joseph F. Rinella, Stuart W. McKenzie, and Others
Publication_Date: 1999
Title: Surface-Water-Quality Assessment of the Yakima River Basin, Washington
Edition:
Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: database
Series_Information:
Series_Name:
Issue_Identification:
Publication_Information:
Publication_Place: Portland, Oregon
Publisher: U.S. Geological Survey
Other_Citation_Details:
Online_Linkage:
Description:
Abstract:
Surface-water-quality conditions were assessed in the Yakima River Basin, which drains 6,155 square miles of mostly forested, range, and agricultural land in Washington. The Yakima River Basin is one of the most intensively farmed and irrigated areas in the United States, and is often referred to as the "Nation's Fruitbowl." Natural and anthropogenic sources of contaminants and flow regulation control water-quality conditions throughout the basin. This report summarizes the spatial and temporal distribution, sources, and implications of the dissolved oxygen, water temperature, pH, suspended sediment, nutrient, organic compound (pesticide), trace element, fecal indicator bacteria, radionuclide, and aquatic ecology data collected during the 1987-91 water years. The Yakima River descends from a water surface altitude of 2,449 feet at the foot of Keechelus Dam to 340 feet at its mouth downstream from Horn Rapids Dam near Richland. The basin can be divided into three distinct river reaches on the basis of its physical characteristics. The upper reach, which drains the Kittitas Valley, has a high gradient, with an average streambed slope of 14 feet per mile (ft/mi) over the 74 miles from the foot of Keechelus Dam (river mile [RM] 214.5) to just upstream from Umtanum. The middle reach, which drains the Mid Valley, extends a distance of 33 miles from Umtanum (RM 140.4) to just upstream from Union Gap and also has a high gradient, with an average streambed slope of 11 ft/mi. The lower reach of the Yakima River drains the Lower Valley and has an average streambed slope of 7 ft/mi over the 107 miles from Union Gap (RM 107.2) to the mouth of the Yakima River. These reaches exhibited differences in water-quality conditions related to the differences in geologic sources of contaminants and land use. Compared with the rest of the basin, the Kittitas Valley and headwaters of the Naches River Subbasin had relatively low concentrations and loads of suspended sediment, nutrients, organic compounds, and fecal indicator bacteria. There were very few failures to meet the Washington State dissolved oxygen standard or exceedances of the water temperature and pH standards in this reach. In general, these areas are considered to be areas of less-degraded water quality in the basin. The pre-Tertiary metamorphic and intrusive rocks of the Cle Elum and Teanaway River Subbasins, however, were found to be significant geologic sources of antimony, arsenic, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, selenium, and zinc. As a result, the arsenic, chromium, and nickel concentrations measured in the streambed sediment of the Kittitas Valley were 13 to 74 times higher than those measured in the Lower Valley. The Mid and Lower Valleys had similar water-quality conditions, governed by the intensive agricultural and irrigation activities, highly erosive landscapes, and flow regulation. Most of the failures to meet the Washington State standards for dissolved oxygen and exceedances of the standards for water temperature and pH occurred in the Mid and Lower Valleys. Agricultural drains in the Mid and Lower Valleys were found to be significant sources of nutrients, suspended sediment, pesticides, and fecal indicator bacteria. Downstream from the irrigation diversions near Union Gap, summertime streamflow in the Yakima River was drastically reduced to only a few hundred cubic feet per second. In the lower Yakima River, agricultural return flow typically accounts for as much as 80 percent of the main stem summertime flow near the downstream terminus of the basin. Therefore, the water-quality characteristics of the lower Yakima River resemble those of the agricultural drains. The highest fecal bacteria concentrations (35,000 colonies of Escherichia coli per 100 milliliters of water) were measured in the Granger/ Sunnyside area, the location of most of the livestock in the basin. The east side area of the Lower Valley (area east of the Yakima River) was the predominant source area for suspended sediment and pesticides in the basin. This area had the largest acreage of irrigated land and generally received the largest application of pesticides. Owing to the highly erosive soils of the area, the suspended sediment load from the east side in June 1989 (320 kilograms per day) was five or more times larger than from any other area, and the loads of several of the more hydrophobic organic compounds were four or more times larger. An ecological assessment of the Yakima River Basin ranked physical, chemical, and biological conditions at impaired (degraded) sites against reference sites in an effort to understand how land use changes physical and chemical site characteristics and how biota respond to these changes. For this assessment, the basin was divided into four natural ecological categories: (1) Cascades ecoregion, (2) Eastern Cascades Slopes and Foothills ecoregion, (3) Columbia Basin ecoregion, and (4) large rivers. Each of these categories has a unique combination of climate and landscape features that produces a distinctive terrestrial vegetation assemblage. In the combined Cascades and Eastern Cascades site group, which had the fewest impaired sites, the metals index was the only physical and chemical index that indicated any impairment. The moderate levels of impairment noted in the invertebrate and algal communities were not, however, associated with metals, and may have been related to the effects of logging, although the intensity of logging was not directly quantified in this study. Sites in the Columbia Basin site group were all moderately or severely impaired with the exception of the two reference sites (Umtanum Creek and Satus Creek below Dry Creek), which showed no physical, chemical, or biological impairment. Three sites were heavily affected by agriculture (Granger Drain, Moxee Drain, and Spring Creek) and were listed as severely impaired by most of the physical, chemical, and biological condition indices. Agriculture was the primary cause of the impairment of biological communities in this site group. The primary physical and chemical indicators of agricultural effects were nutrients, pesticides, dissolved solids, and substrate embeddedness, which all tended to increase with agricultural intensity. The biological effects of agriculture were manifested by a decrease in the abundance and number of native species of fish and invertebrates, a shift in algal communities to species indicative of eutrophic conditions, and higher abundances. There was also an increase in the abundance and number of nonnative fish species due to the prevalence of fish that are largely tolerant of nutrient-rich conditions. Main stem (large river) sites downstream from the city of Yakima exhibited severe impairment of fish communities associated with high levels of pesticides in fish tissues and the presence of external anomalies on fish. The purpose of this surface-water study was to identify and describe: 1) The occurrence and distribution of nutrients, organic compounds, major and trace elements, suspended sediment. fecal indicator bacteria, and aquatic biota (including insects, fish, clams, and vegetation); 2) the temporal variation of water parameters in media that include filtered water, unfiltered water, suspended sediment, streambed sediment, and aquatic biota; 3) the suitability of surface water for the preservation of aquatic life and protection of human health; 4) the major natural and human-related sources of contaminants in the Yakima River Basin that affect observed water-quality conditions; and 5) the implications of the assessment study with regard to future monitoring activities, assessment studies, and water management. The area of study was the Yakima River Basin in Washington. Monthly and annual mean daily loads were calculated using a regression model that assumes a linear relationship between the natural logarithm of concentration (log C) and the natural logarithm of streamflow (log Q). The model was creating using the ESTIMATOR program, version 94.06 (Cohn, Caulder, and others, 1992). The ESTIMATOR program regresses log C against log Q and the sine and cosine of time (in decimal years, adjusted by 2 pi, for a yearly cycle) and generates equations for calculating monthly and annual mean daily load estimates. Monthly mean daily loads are the mean of the individual daily mean loads for each month and annual mean daily loads are the mean of the individual daily mean loads for each year. The ESTIMATOR program uses a minimum variance unbiased estimate (Cohn and others, 1989), which reduces the bias introduced when transforming load estimates from a log-regression equation (log space) back into arithmetic units (real space). The program also incorporates an adjusted maximum likelihood estimator (Cohn, Gilroy, and Baier, 1992) to deal with censored data values, values that are below a specific "detection limit". The ESTIMATOR program is ideal for use in hydrologic studies, because water-quality data generally show a log C-log Q relationship and commonly contain censored data. The ESTIMATOR program is widely used in the USGS, including about 50 current NAWQA studies. It is also used by the Maryland Department of the Environment on its Chesapeake Bay projects and by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The information for this metadata was taken from the Online Publications of the Oregon District at http://oregon.usgs.gov/pubs_dir/online_list.html .
Purpose:
Not Available
Supplemental_Information:
REFERENCE: Morace, J.L., Fuhrer, G.J., Rinella, J.F., McKenzie, S.W. And others, 1999. Surface-Water-Quality Assessment of the Yakima River Basin in Washington: Overview of major findings, 1987-91 U.S. Geological Survey, Water-Resources Investigations Report-98-4113. Portland, Oregon. U.S. Geological Survey. http://oregon.usgs.gov/pubs_dir/Pdf/98-4113.pdf
Time_Period_of_Content:
Time_Period_Information:
Range_of_Dates/Times:
Beginning_Date: 19860101
Ending_Date: 19911101
Currentness_Reference:Unknown
Status:
Progress: Complete
Maintenance_and_Update_Frequency: As needed
Spatial_Domain:
Description_of_Geographic_Extent:
Bounding_Coordinates:
West_Bounding_Coordinate: -122.0
East_Bounding_Coordinate: -119.0
North_Bounding_Coordinate: 48.0
South_Bounding_Coordinate: 45.0
Keywords:
Theme:
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: GCMD SCIENCE PARAMETERS
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: ANCILLARY KEYWORDS
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: ISO TOPIC CATEGORY
Theme_Keyword_Thesaurus: DATA SET LANGUAGE
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS > FERTILIZERS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > AGRICULTURE > AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS > PESTICIDES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > NITROGEN
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > NUTRIENTS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > VEGETATION > PHOSPHORUS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > HUMAN DIMENSIONS > ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS > CONTAMINANT LEVELS/SPILLS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > SURFACE WATER > DRAINAGE
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > SURFACE WATER > RIVERS/STREAMS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > SURFACE WATER > RIVERS/STREAMS > YAKIMA RIVER
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > CONTAMINANTS > METALS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > CONTAMINANTS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > DISSOLVED GASES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > DISSOLVED GASES > DISSOLVED OXYGEN
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > HYDROCARBONS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > NITROGEN COMPOUNDS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > NUTRIENTS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > PH
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > PHOSPHOROUS COMPOUNDS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > SUSPENDED SOLIDS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > TRACE METALS
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > TERRESTRIAL HYDROSPHERE > WATER QUALITY/WATER CHEMISTRY > WATER TEMPERATURE
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS > RIVERS/STREAM HABITAT > YAKIMA RIVER BASIN
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > COMMUNITY DYNAMICS > INDICATOR SPECIES
Theme_Keyword: EARTH SCIENCE > BIOSPHERE > ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS > ECOTOXICOLOGY > SPECIES BIOACCUMULATION
Theme_Keyword: Human Health
Theme_Keyword: Aquatic Life
Theme_Keyword: Trace Element Enrichment
Theme_Keyword: Agricultural Runoff
Theme_Keyword: Suspended Sediment
Theme_Keyword: Nutrients
Theme_Keyword: Ecological Conditions
Theme_Keyword: Biological Conditions
Theme_Keyword: Biological Indices
Theme_Keyword: Biological Communities
Theme_Keyword: Future Considerations
Theme_Keyword: Suspended Sediment And Nutrients
Theme_Keyword: Pesticides
Theme_Keyword: Ecology
Theme_Keyword: Biological Data Profile
Theme_Keyword: Bdp
Theme_Keyword: FARMING
Theme_Keyword: BIOTA
Theme_Keyword: ENVIRONMENT
Theme_Keyword: GEOSCIENTIFIC INFORMATION
Theme_Keyword: INLAND WATERS
Theme_Keyword: ENGLISH
Place:
Place_Keyword_Thesaurus: GCMD
Place_Keyword: CONTINENT > NORTH AMERICA > UNITED STATES OF AMERICA > OREGON
Access_Constraints: None
Use_Constraints:
None
Point_of_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: JENNIFER L. MORACE
Contact_Position: TECHNICAL CONTACT
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Contact_Voice_Telephone: (503) 251-3229
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: (503) 251-3470
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: jlmorace@usgs.gov
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Data_Quality_Information:
Attribute_Accuracy:
Attribute_Accuracy_Report:
Various aspects of the data were surface water quality were examined including dissolved oxygen, water temperature and pH; suspended sediment and turbidity; nutrients, pesticides and other organic compounds; trace elements; fecal indicator bacteria, radiocnuclides, ecological assessment. The completeness varied for each study.
Logical_Consistency_Report:
Not Available
Completeness_Report:
Not Available
Lineage:
Process_Step:
Process_Description:
Not Available
Process_Date: Unknown
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Spatial_Reference_Information:
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Distribution_Information:
Distributor:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Organization_Primary:
Contact_Organization: DOI/USGS/WRD/OR > Water Resource Division, Oregon, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior
Contact_Person: DENNIS D. LYNCH
Contact_Position: DATA CENTER CONTACT
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Address: U.S. Geological Survey
Address: 10615 S.E. Cherry Blossom Drive
City: Portland
State_or_Province: Oregon
Postal_Code: 97216-3159
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: (503) 251-3200
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: (503) 251-3470
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: ddlynch@usgs.gov
Resource_Description: WRIR_98_4113
Distribution_Liability:
Not Available
Standard_Order_Process:
Digital_Form:
Digital_Transfer_Information:
Format_Name: Not Available
Digital_Transfer_Option:
Online_Option:
Computer_Contact_Information:
Network_Address:
Network_Resource_Name:
http://oregon.usgs.gov
Access_Instructions:
DATA CENTER URL
Digital_Transfer_Option:
Online_Option:
Computer_Contact_Information:
Network_Address:
Network_Resource_Name:
http://mercury.ornl.gov/clearinghouse/send/xsltTex...
Access_Instructions:
Metadata in National Biological Information Infrastructure format.
Fees: Not Available
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Metadata_Reference_Information:
Metadata_Date: 20010627
Metadata_Review_Date: 20121221
Metadata_Future_Review_Date: 20020627
Metadata_Contact:
Contact_Information:
Contact_Person_Primary:
Contact_Person: TYLER B. STEVENS
Contact_Position: DIF AUTHOR
Contact_Address:
Address_Type: Mailing and Physical Address
Address: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Address: Global Change Master Directory
City: Greenbelt
State_or_Province: MD
Postal_Code: 20771
Country: USA
Contact_Voice_Telephone: (301) 614-6898
Contact_Facsimile_Telephone: 301-614-5268
Contact_Electronic_Mail_Address: Tyler.B.Stevens@nasa.gov
Metadata_Standard_Name: FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata
Metadata_Standard_Version: FGDC-STD-001-1998
Metadata_Time_Convention: local time
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