Nutrient Delivery to the Mississippi River from Kentucky

Science Center Objects

Scientists will be collecting field water-quality parameters and samples for laboratory analysis of nutrients, silica, and suspended sediment at the USGS Ohio River at Ironton, OH gaging station and the Green River at Spottsville, KY gaging station on a monthly basis. Stable isotope water samples also will be collected at the Green River site. The Ohio River at Ironton, OH site will serve, along with existing USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) sites, to bracket major contributors of nutrients into the Ohio River along the Kentucky border. The Green River site will enable improved quantification of nutrient loads being contributed from Kentucky agricultural areas.

We will be sampling the Ohio River at Ironton, OH, and the Green River at Spottsville, KY, for nutrients, silica, and suspended sediment. Data we collect will be used to establish baseline water-quality conditions of the Lower Green River and the Ohio River at Ironton, and determine nutrient concentrations and loads being transported into and discharged from the Ohio River along the Kentucky border. Specifically, we will:

  • Continue operation and maintenance of a Super gage station at the Green River at Spottsville, KY.
  • Measure discrete concentrations of nutrients, silica, and suspended sediment at the Green River at Spottsville, KY and the Ohio River at Ironton, OH; stable isotopes also will be measured at Green River at Spottsville, KY.
  • Install and operate a real-time streamflow gaging station, nitrate sensor, and 5-parameter water-quality sonde at the Ohio River at Ironton, OH.
  • Evaluate the utility of stable isotopes for characterizing nitrogen sources from the Lower Green River.
Map showing the locations of the USGS gaging stations at the Ohio River at Ironton, OH and the Green River at Spottsville, KY