Idaho Water Science Center

Water Quality

Filter Total Items: 33
Date published: April 8, 2020
Status: Active

Continuous Water-Quality Monitoring of Middle Snake River Springs in Support of Threatened and Endangered Snail Species

Two species of aquatic snails, the Banbury Springs limpet (Idaholanx fresti) and the Bliss Rapids snail (Taylorconcha serpenticola) live in springs along the middle Snake River in...

Date published: March 23, 2020
Status: Active

Idaho's Large River Ambient Monitoring Network

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.

Date published: March 20, 2020
Status: Active

Groundwater Quality and Quantity Trends in the Middle Snake River Region, South-Central Idaho

Groundwater-quality and groundwater-level data have been collected by the USGS and various state agencies in the mid-Snake area since at least the early 1990s. However, no trend analyses have been conducted on the data since 2012. Assessing groundwater-quality trends will help resource managers determine if they should continue or modify current nutrient management practices. Groundwater-level...

Date published: March 16, 2020
Status: Active

Sediment Transport in the Yankee Fork Salmon River

The Yankee Fork of the Salmon River is one of the larger watersheds in the upper Salmon River subbasin of central Idaho. Mining activities since the late 19th century, specifically placer mining and associated dredging from 1940 to 1953, have left the fluvial system in a highly altered and unnatural state. To improve aquatic and terrestrial habitat in the Yankee Fork, the Bureau of Reclamation...

Date published: March 16, 2020
Status: Active

Kootenai River Water-Quality Monitoring Related to Transboundary Coal Mining

The Kootenai River (Kootenay in Canada) rises from the Canadian Rockies and flows south in an arc through Montana and Idaho before swinging back into British Columbia and the Columbia River. The uplifted sedimentary rocks forming the southern Canadian Rockies have rich coal deposits that have been mined for many decades. The coal beds and associated rock layers are enriched with other minerals...

Date published: February 18, 2020
Status: Active

Satellite Monitoring of Algal Blooms in Idaho Water Bodies

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a growing concern in Idaho. Within the past five years, Idaho agencies have issued at least 57 HAB notices on 29 water bodies throughout the state. Toxins produced by HABs pose risks to human and animal health. Local economies may also be adversely affected when algal blooms discourage outdoor recreation.

Routinely monitoring the state's many water bodies...

Contacts: Tyler King
Date published: February 3, 2020
Status: Active

Kootenai River Sediment Studies

The Kootenai River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) and other native fish species are culturally important to the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, but their habitat and recruitment have been affected by anthropogenic changes to the river. White sturgeon and burbot have not successfully spawned in the Kootenai River since the completion of Libby Dam upstream in Montana. In recent years...

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Date published: January 31, 2020
Status: Active

Monitoring Sediment and Turbidity in Clear Creek

To help protect critical salmonid spawning habitat, we are monitoring streamflow, water temperature, turbidity, and suspended sediment concentrations on Clear Creek upstream of the confluence with the Middle Fork Clearwater River. We are conducting this monitoring in cooperation with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Contacts: James Johnsen
Date published: January 24, 2020
Status: Active

Automated Sampling for Phosphorus in the Lower Boise River

For decades, the lower Boise River downstream of Lucky Peak Reservoir has been highly enriched with phosphorus. Too much of a good thing, the high concentrations of phosphorus create a cycle of excessive plant growth, decreased oxygen for fish, and even algal blooms.

Contacts: Tyler King
Date published: January 24, 2020
Status: Active

Modeling the Hydraulic and Water-Quality Habitat Suitability for Macrophytes in the Middle Snake River, South-Central Idaho

Rooted aquatic plants (macrophytes) are essential components of freshwater ecosystems. Macrophyte beds provide shelter for fish and other aquatic life. Their leaves and stems also provide algae with surfaces to colonize, which, in turn, drives the aquatic food webs and dissolved oxygen cycles. However, too much of a good thing can create problems. When growth conditions are favorable,...

Date published: January 6, 2020
Status: Active

Assessing the Water Quality of the Lower Boise River and Selected Tributaries

For decades, the lower Boise River downstream of Lucky Peak Reservoir has been highly enriched with phosphorus. Too much of a good thing, the high concentrations of phosphorus create a cycle of excessive plant growth, decreased oxygen for fish, and even algal blooms. 

Contacts: Tyler King
Date published: April 10, 2019
Status: Completed

Groundwater Quality and Nutrient Trends near Marsing, Southwestern Idaho

In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, we sampled groundwater from 15 wells during spring 2018 near the city of Marsing in rural northwestern Owyhee County, southwestern Idaho. Samples were analyzed for field parameters, nutrients, trace elements, major inorganics, and dissolved gas, including methane. To examine trends in individual wells and in the region, ammonia...