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Publications

Below is a list of available Colorado Water Science Center publications and published products.

Filter Total Items: 696

Quantification of metal loading using tracer dilution and instantaneous synoptic sampling and importance of diel cycling in Leavenworth Creek, Clear Creek County, Colorado, 2012

Leavenworth Creek, a tributary of South Clear Creek and Clear Creek near Georgetown, Colorado, contains copper, lead, and zinc at concentrations close to or in excess of aquatic-life standards. In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, conducted monitoring to

Cyanobacteria, cyanotoxin synthetase gene, and cyanotoxin occurrence among selected large river sites of the conterminous United States, 2017–18

The U.S. Geological Survey measured cyanobacteria, cyanotoxin synthetase genes, and cyanotoxins at 11 river sites throughout the conterminous United States in a multiyear pilot study during 2017–19 through the National Water Quality Assessment Project to better understand the occurrence of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in large inland and coastal rivers. This report focuses on the first 2 years of

A simple low-cost approach for transport parameter determination in mountain rivers

A simplified low-cost approach to experimentally determine transport parameters in mountain rivers is described, with an emphasis on the longitudinal dispersion coefficient (DL). The approach is based on a slug injection of table salt (NaCl) as a tracer and specific conductance readings at different locations downstream of the injection spot. Observed specific conductance readings are fit using th

Establishing the foundation for the global observing system for marine life

Maintaining healthy, productive ecosystems in the face of pervasive and accelerating human impacts including climate change requires globally coordinated and sustained observations of marine biodiversity. Global coordination is predicated on an understanding of the scope and capacity of existing monitoring programs, and the extent to which they use standardized, interoperable practices for data ma

Influence of redox gradients on nitrate transport from the landscape to groundwater and streams

Increases in nitrogen applications to the land surface since the 1950s have led to a cascade of negative environmental impacts, including degradation of drinking water supplies, nutrient enrichment of aquatic ecosystems and contributions to global climate change. In this study, groundwater, streambed porewater, and stream sampling were used to establish trends in nitrate concentrations and how red

Assessing specific-capacity data and short-term aquifer testing to estimate hydraulic properties in alluvial aquifers of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA

Study Region: Rocky Mountains, United StatesStudy Focus: Groundwater-flow modeling requires estimates of hydraulic properties, namely hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity values commonly vary over orders of magnitudes however and estimation may require extensive field campaigns applying slug or pumping tests. As an alternative, specific-capacity tests can be used to estimate hydraulic pr

Snow depth retrieval with an autonomous UAV-mounted software-defined radar

We present results from a field campaign to measure seasonal snow depth at Cameron Pass, Colorado, using a synthetic ultrawideband software-defined radar (SDRadar) implemented in commercially available Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) software-defined radio hardware and flown on a small hexacopter unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). We coherently synthesize an ultrawideband signal from steppe

Effects of hydrologic variability and remedial actions on first flush and metal loading from streams draining the Silverton caldera, 1992–2014

This study examined water quality in the upper Animas River watershed, a mined watershed that gained notoriety following the 2015 Gold King mine release of acid mine drainage to downstream communities. Water-quality data were used to evaluate trends in metal concentrations and loads over a two-decade period. Selected sites included three sites on tributary streams and one main-stem site on the Ani

Predicting regional fluoride concentrations at public and domestic supply depths in basin-fill aquifers of the western United States using a random forest model

A random forest regression (RFR) model was applied to over 12,000 wells with measured fluoride (F) concentrations in untreated groundwater to predict F concentrations at depths used for domestic and public supply in basin-fill aquifers of the western United States. The model relied on twenty-two regional-scale environmental and surficial predictor variables selected to represent factors known to c

Estimating urban air pollution contribution to South Platte River nitrogen loads with National Atmospheric Deposition Program data and SPARROW model

Air pollution is commonly disregarded as a source of nutrient loading to impaired surface waters managed under the Clean Water Act per states’ 303(d) list programs. The contribution of air pollution to 2017–2018 South Platte River nitrogen (N) loads was estimated from the headwaters to the gage at Weldona, Colorado, USA (100 km downstream of Denver), using data from the National Atmospheric Deposi

Estimates of public-supply, domestic, and irrigation water withdrawal, use, and trends in the Upper Rio Grande Basin, 1985 to 2015

The Rio Grande flows approximately 670 miles from its headwaters in the San Juan Mountains of south-central Colorado to Fort Quitman, Texas, draining the Upper Rio Grande Basin (URGB) study area of 32,000 square miles that includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Parts of the basin extend into the United Mexican States (hereafter “Mexico”), where the Rio Grande forms the international bo

Estimating invertebrate response to changes in total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and specific conductance at sites where invertebrate data are unavailable

The purpose of this report is to describe a possible approach to estimate changes in invertebrate taxa richness at sites with known water-quality trends but no invertebrate data. In this study, data from 1,322 sites were used to describe invertebrate response to changes in total nitrogen, total phosphorus, or specific conductance, and to estimate changes in invertebrate taxa richness at 259 sites