Idaho's Large River Ambient Monitoring Network

Science Center Objects

From 1989 to 2009, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, monitored trends in water quality and biological integrity at more than 50 USGS streamgage stations on rivers throughout Idaho. In 2018, multiple State and Federal partners restarted a portion of the Large River Ambient Monitoring (LRAM) network.

USGS streamgage station 13056500

USGS streamgage station 13056500, Henrys Fork near Rexburg, Idaho

(Credit: Michael Allen, Idaho Water Science Center. Public domain.)

LRAM monitoring continues at 5 sites each year (shown in bold) and additional sites throughout the state on a rotating basis. During 2020, we are collecting water samples for analysis 3 times throughout the spring and summer at these 14 sites:

The samples will be analyzed for the following water-quality parameters:

Low-level Nutrients

  • Nitrogen, ammonia
  • Nitrogen, nitrite
  • Nitrogen, nitrite + nitrate
  • Total nitrogen, filtered and unfiltered
  • Total dissolved phosphorus
  • Phosphorus, phosphate, orthophosphorus
  • Total phosphorus

Trace Elements

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Biotic Ligand Model Parameters (used to predict toxic effects of metals on aquatic biota and to calculate the aquatic life criteria for copper)

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Sulfate
  • Alkalinity
  • Dissolved organic carbon

In addition, suspended sediment samples will be collected at selected sites.

For biological monitoring, we will collect fish tissue samples to analyze for selenium concentrations at these two sites: