What's In Your Stream? Get Online to Find Out!

Release Date:

A new update to an online interactive tool for learning about pesticides, nutrients, and overall stream health in major regions of the U.S. is available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Regional Stream Quality Assessment.

Users now can access results for the Northeast and Pacific Northwest regions, along with results for the Midwest and Southeast regions made available in 2018.

By clicking on a stream sampling site, users can access a “scorecard” that gives a snapshot of water-quality, habitat, and stream-health metrics for that stream. The site also allows users to visually compare results across a region and nationally among regions. The Results Viewer app depicts data collected at the stream sites assessed. Sites are displayed on the map using an easy-to-understand color key that shows low, medium, and high levels of each metric. The Download Data app allows users to select and download project data of interest by site or by constituent.

Results available now cover four of the five USGS Regional Stream Quality Assessments. For each region, samples were collected at about 100 small streams and tested for a wide range of contaminants. Scientists also surveyed stream habitat, algae, fish, and bottom-dwelling invertebrate communities, such as mayfly and damselfly larvae. Streambed sediment was collected at every site for chemical analysis and toxicity testing. Results for the fifth and final region, Coastal California, will be available later this year.

Publications and study design information also are available at the Regional Stream Quality Assessment website. The information from the assessment can be used by the public and by land and resource managers to better understand the relative effects of water quality and other stressors on aquatic organisms in streams.

For additional information on the web tool, contact Pete Van Metre, pcvanmet@usgs.gov.

Explore other water-quality tools and learn more about water quality across the Nation at the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Project website.

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