Idaho Water Science Center

Water Quality

Filter Total Items: 16
Date published: September 23, 2017
Status: Active

Groundwater Flow Modeling - Idaho National Laboratory

Numerical models are being used to better understand the flow of groundwater and the transport of radiochemical and chemical constituents in the eastern Snake River Plain aquifer system.

The models, developed at the INL, afford scientists a framework to organize their knowledge and concepts of groundwater systems and to provide insights for water-resource managers for future water...

Contacts: Jason C Fisher
Date published: August 18, 2017
Status: Active

Monitoring Mercury in Fish Tissue, Boise and Snake Rivers and Brownlee Reservoir

To meet National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements, the City of Boise will be responsible for collecting fish tissue samples for mercury analysis upstream of and downstream of their wastewater treatment facilities discharging to the lower Boise and Snake Rivers.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element that ultimately makes its way into aquatic...

Contacts: Dorene MacCoy
Date published: August 8, 2017
Status: Active

Wood River Valley Aquatic Biology and Habitat Assessment

Blaine County’s population nearly quadrupled from about 5,700 to 22,000 people between 1970 and 2010. Residents and resource managers of the Wood River Valley of south-central Idaho are concerned about the potential effects that population growth and the expected increased demand for water might have on the quantity and quality of the valley’s ground and surface waters. Increased water use has...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Selenium in the Blackfoot River Watershed

The upper Blackfoot River receives runoff from 12 large phosphate mines. Shale waste rock that is a byproduct of mining is highly enriched in naturally occurring selenium. At optimal concentrations, selenium can be a positive nutrient and antioxidant in mammals and fish. At elevated concentrations, however, it can damage fish and animal immune systems. As early as 1996, livestock deaths...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Occurrence and Potential Risk of Microplastics in Lake Mead and the Delaware River

There is mounting evidence that microplastics present a significant threat to aquatic organisms. Microplastics – defined as plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter – come from many different sources, including synthetic textiles, industrial waste products, personal care products, and the breakdown of litter, car tires, and other objects. This study will assess the occurrence of...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Mercury Cycling in the Hells Canyon Complex

The Hells Canyon Complex is a hydroelectric project consisting of three dams located on the Snake River along the Oregon and Idaho border. Elevated concentrations of mercury and methylmercury in the water column, bottom sediments, and biota in this reach have resulted in two of the reservoirs, Brownlee and Hells Canyon, being listed as impaired for mercury by the state of Idaho, and the entire...

Date published: August 4, 2017
Status: Active

Trace Elements in Streams Near the Stibnite Mining Area

Mining of stibnite (antimony sulfide), tungsten, gold, silver, and mercury near the town of Stibnite in central Idaho has left a legacy of trace element contamination in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River (EFSFSR) and its tributaries. Concentrations of arsenic, antimony, and mercury frequently exceed human health criteria and may impact threatened or endangered salmonid...

Date published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

Coeur d'Alene Basin Water-Quality Monitoring

We partner with the EPA to conduct long-term water-quality and streamflow monitoring and streamflow measurements in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which has been widely impacted by historic mining activities. We collect water-quality samples 2-4 times per year at 20 sites throughout the basin. Our scientists analyze these samples for metals, hardness, sediment, and nutrients. In addition, we ...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Effects of Nutrient Enrichment on Stream Ecosystems (Upper Snake River Basin NAWQA)

Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:

seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams

rooted aquatic plant vs. algae growth

stream...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Surrogate Technologies for Estimating Suspended Sediment in the Snake and Clearwater Rivers

Because fluvial sediment poses both economic and ecological problems, resource managers need a safe, cost-effective way to measure sediment in streams, particularly in remote areas.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Lower Granite Reservoir Bathymetric and Underwater Video Surveys

Sedimentation of Lower Granite Reservoir, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, affects commercial navigation and reservoir storage capacity. Some groups are concerned that dredging the reservoir to remove excess sediment may negatively affect endangered species such as steelhead and salmon.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Lower Granite Reservoir Bed Sediment Coring and Analysis

Some groups are concerned that dredging the reservoir and the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers to remove excess sediment may mobilize contaminants in sediment that could negatively affect endangered species such as steelhead and salmon.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness