Lower Gunnison River Basin Groundwater Selenium

Science Center Objects

The east side of the Uncompahgre River Basin has been a known contributor of dissolved selenium to recipient streams. Discharge of groundwater containing dissolved selenium contributes to surface-water selenium concentrations and loads; however, the groundwater system on the east side of the Uncompahgre River Basin is not well characterized. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Bureau of Reclamation, has established a groundwater-monitoring network on the east side of the Uncompahgre River Basin. Thirty wells total were installed for this project: 10 monitoring wells were installed in 2012, and 20 monitoring wells were installed during April and June 2014. Understanding the groundwater system can provide managers with an additional metric for evaluating the effectiveness of salinity and selenium control projects.


The study objective is to understand how changes in water-table elevation affect selenium mobilization in Mancos Shale derived soils of the Lower Gunnison River Basin in Colorado.