Tualatin River Basin Water Quality Assessment
Science Center Objects
In 1990, the USGS began assessing water-quality in the Tualatin River. Almost 30 years later, we are still monitoring conditions in the basin.
The USGS began to assess water quality conditions in the Tualatin River in 1990. The research included tracking how nutrients entered the river and establishing a instrument network to monitor dissolved-oxygen concentrations. Eventually, more issues arose and the research expanded to meet the needs of those reglatory agencies that manage the natural resources of the basin.
Below are other science projects associated with this project.
Date published: May 2, 2017Status: Active
Beavers and their dams are common sights along creeks in the Tualatin River basin. Beaver help create diverse habitats for many other animals, including birds, fish, and amphibians. The USGS studying the affect beaver activity has on the amount and quality of water in local streams, so that agencies in the basin can make strategic management and habitat restoration decisions based on science...
Date published: January 31, 2018Status: Active
The USGS Oregon Water Science Center water-quality modeling group develops and uses models at a range of scales, from those that focus on a specific reservoir or river reach to large-scale nutrient models of the entire Pacific Northwest.
Date published: May 11, 2017Status: Completed
Henry Hagg Lake is a reservoir located in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Coast Range Mountains of northwestern Oregon. The lake is used for recreation in the summer and flood control in the winter.
Date published: May 11, 2017
Rainfall drives how much water is in streams. Luckily, there are ample sources of rainfall data around the Portland metropolitan area.
Over the past few decades, there has been a considerable amount of research detailing conditions in the Tualatin River Basin. Here are a collection of some of the most important findings.
Organic matters: investigating the sources, transport, and fate of organic matter in Fanno Creek, Oregon
The term organic matter refers to the remnants of all living material. This can include fallen leaves, yard waste, animal waste, downed timber, or the remains of any other plant and animal life. Organic matter is abundant both on land and in water. Investigating organic matter is necessary for understanding the fate and transport of carbon (a...Sobieszczyk, Steven; Keith, Mackenzie K.; Goldman, Jami H.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Investigating organic matter in Fanno Creek, Oregon, Part 1 of 3: estimating annual foliar biomass for a deciduous-dominant urban riparian corridor
For this study, we explored the amount, type, and distribution of foliar biomass that is deposited annually as leaf litter to Fanno Creek and its floodplain in Portland, Oregon, USA. Organic matter is a significant contributor to the decreased dissolved oxygen concentrations observed in Fanno Creek each year and leaf litter is amongst the largest...Sobieszczyk, Steven; Keith, Mackenzie K.; Rounds, Stewart A.; Goldman, Jami H.
Investigating organic matter in Fanno Creek, Oregon, Part 2 of 3: sources, sinks, and transport of organic matter with fine sediment
Organic matter (OM) is abundant in Fanno Creek, Oregon, USA, and has been tied to a variety of water-quality concerns, including periods of low dissolved oxygen downstream in the Tualatin River, Oregon. The key sources of OM in Fanno Creek and other Tualatin River tributaries have not been fully identified, although isotopic analyses from previous...Keith, Mackenzie K.; Sobieszczyk, Steven; Goldman, Jami H.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Investigating organic matter in Fanno Creek, Oregon, Part 3 of 3: identifying and quantifying sources of organic matter to an urban stream
The sources, transport, and characteristics of organic matter (OM) in Fanno Creek, an urban stream in northwest Oregon, were assessed and quantified using: (1) optical instruments to calculate transported loads of dissolved, particulate, and total organic carbon, (2) fluorescence spectroscopy and stable isotope ratios (δ13C, δ15N) to...Goldman, Jami H.; Rounds, Stewart A.; Keith, Mackenzie K.; Sobieszczyk, Steven
Plankton communities and summertime declines in algal abundance associated with low dissolved oxygen in the Tualatin River, Oregon
Phytoplankton populations in the Tualatin River in northwestern Oregon are an important component of the dissolved oxygen (DO) budget of the river and are critical for maintaining DO levels in summer. During the low-flow summer period, sufficient nutrients and a long residence time typically combine with ample sunshine and warm water to fuel...Carpenter, Kurt D.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Applications of fluorescence spectroscopy for predicting percent wastewater in an urban stream
Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a significant organic carbon reservoir in many ecosystems, and its characteristics and sources determine many aspects of ecosystem health and water quality. Fluorescence spectroscopy methods can quantify and characterize the subset of the DOC pool that can absorb and re-emit electromagnetic energy as fluorescence...Goldman, Jami H.; Rounds, Stewart A.; Needoba, Joseph A.
Use of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to identify sources of organic matter to bed sediments of the Tualatin River, Oregon
The potential sources of organic matter to bed sediment of the Tualatin River in northwestern Oregon were investigated by comparing the isotopic fractionation of carbon and nitrogen and the carbon/nitrogen ratios of potential sources and bed sediments. Samples of bed sediment, suspended sediment, and seston, as well as potential source materials,...Bonn, Bernadine A.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Use of Continuous Monitors and Autosamplers to Predict Unmeasured Water-Quality Constituents in Tributaries of the Tualatin River, Oregon
Management of water quality in streams of the United States is becoming increasingly complex as regulators seek to control aquatic pollution and ecological problems through Total Maximum Daily Load programs that target reductions in the concentrations of certain constituents. Sediment, nutrients, and bacteria, for example, are constituents that...Anderson, Chauncey W.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Reconnaissance of Pharmaceutical Chemicals in Urban Streams of the Tualatin River Basin, Oregon, 2002
A reconnaissance of pharmaceutical chemicals in urban streams of the Tualatin River basin was conducted in July 2002 in an effort to better understand the occurrence and distribution of such compounds, and to determine whether they might be useful indicators of human-related stream contamination. Of the 21 pharmaceutical chemicals and metabolites...Rounds, Stewart A.; Doyle, Micelis C.; Edwards, Patrick M.; Furlong, Edward T.
Enantiomer fractions of chlordane components in sediment from U.S. Geological Survey sites in lakes and rivers
Spatial, temporal, and sediment-type trends in enantiomer signatures were evaluated for cis- and trans-chlordane (CC, TC) in archived core, suspended, and surficial-sediment samples from six lake, reservoir, and river sites across the United States. The enantiomer fractions (EFs) measured in these samples are in good agreement with those reported...Ulrich, E.M.; Foreman, W.T.; Van Metre, P.C.; Wilson, J.T.; Rounds, S.A.
Modeling water quality effects of structural and operational changes to Scoggins Dam and Henry Hagg Lake, Oregon
To meet water quality targets and the municipal and industrial water needs of a growing population in the Tualatin River Basin in northwestern Oregon, an expansion of Henry Hagg Lake is under consideration. Hagg Lake is the basin's primary storage reservoir and provides water during western Oregon's typically dry summers. Potential modifications...Sullivan, Annett B.; Rounds, Stewart A.
Field comparison of optical and Clark cell dissolved oxygen sensors in the Tualatin River, Oregon, 2005Johnston, Matthew W.; Williams, John S.
Below are data or web applications associated with this project.
Date published: April 23, 2016
This is a data graphing utility that allows the user to build graphs of data from selected USGS stations. Select the station, the type of graph, the parameter(s) to plot, and the starting and ending dates for the graph.
Date published: September 22, 2012
The Alkalinity Calculator will analyze the titration curve and calculate the alkalinity or acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of the sample using one or more of several different methods. Alkalinity is for filtered samples, while ANC is for unfiltered samples. The results will be displayed in tabular and graphical form.
Below are software products associated with this project.
Date published: November 2, 2017
CE-QUAL-W2 is a water quality and hydrodynamic model in 2D (longitudinal-vertical) for rivers, estuaries, lakes, reservoirs and river basin systems. W2 models basic eutrophication processes such as temperature-nutrient-algae-dissolved oxygen-organic matter and sediment relationships.
Below are multimedia items associated with this project.
Poster: Within Our Reach (2016)
White, J., Jones, K., Buccola, N., Costello, A., Poor, E., Rounds, S.A., and Smith, C., 2016, Effects of beaver dams on urban streams in the Tualatin River Basin.
Poster for Tualatin plankton study.
Carpenter, K.D. and Rounds, S.A., 2014, Plankton communities and summertime declines in algal abundance associated with low dissolved oxygen in the Tualatin River, Oregon.
Poster for Wapato Lake Monitoring Project.
Rounds, S.A., 2014, Monitoring streamflow, water levels, and water quality in the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon.
Poster for organic matter study along Fanno Creek.
Keith, M., Sobieszczyk, S., Rounds, S., and Goldman, J., 2014, Sources, sinks, and transport of organic matter with fine sediment along an urban stream.
In this episode, we are going to investigate more than just the substance "water." We are going to examine what is in our nations' water, how we at the U.S. Geological Survey monitor it, and what tools we have developed to aid those who want to explore more about our planet's most abundant resource. This is the USGS Oregon Science Podcast.
In this episode, we are going to investigate more than just the substance "water." We are going to examine what is in our nations' water, how we at the U.S. Geological Survey monitor it, and what tools we have developed to aid those who want to explore more about our planet's most abundant resource. This is the USGS CoreCast.
Populations of North American beaver (Castor canadensis) have increased in recent years due to decreased trapping, habitat restoration, and recognition of their importance as a keystone species in stream ecosystems (Pollock and others, 2017). Previous studies have shown that beaver dams and associated ponds can change channel morphology, trap sediment (and attached pollutants), alter the composition and amount of riparian vegetation, slow down and push water into the floodplain, and change surrounding habitats for fish, amphibians, and birds in rural and mountainous streams. Little work, however, has been done to quantify the effects of beaver dams and ponds on urban streams.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with Clean Water Services, is working to fill this knowledge gap and provide usable information for water-resource managers, regulators, and restoration practitioners. This study focuses on urban streams in the Tualatin River basin, where flashy hydrographs and channel incision have resulted in simplified stream habitats. As Clean Water Services and others consider restoration strategies that include encouraging beaver dam building or adding beaver dam analogs (BDAs) in urban streams, understanding the multi-faceted benefits and impacts of beaver dams and ponds is important context for anticipating and communicating realistic types and associated magnitudes of changes related to beaver dams, ponds, and habitat trajectories.
Beavers and their dams can substantially change the storage and movement of water through a stream reach. The magnitude of this change is, in part, a function of the number and type of dams plus stream characteristics. If beaver activity is to be considered as a flow-management aid, then understanding the locations where beavers currently are building dams and the potential locations and number of dams that beavers could build in the future would help inform how managers approach the management of beaver activity and prioritize habitat restoration actions that may support dam building by beavers.
Beaver dams and ponds fundamentally alter how water moves through a stream reach. Semi-porous dams can impound water, leading to backwatering, floodplain inundation, and overall changes in wetted area, depth, and velocity.
For this part of the study, USGS:
- assessed hydraulic changes caused by beaver dams across a range of flows using a hydraulic model
- assessed the rate-of-change of continuous wetted area during storm events
- estimated water residence time with continuous conductance data.
These findings will be helpful for evaluating the effects of beaver dams and ponds on stormwater run-off and habitat diversity.
Beaver dams and ponds alter the movement and storage of water as well as the water quality in a stream reach. To date, little work has been done to quantify the effects of beaver activity on water quality in urban streams.
In this part of the Tualatin beaver study, USGS assessed changes in water quality along beaver-affected reaches of Fanno Creek at Greenway Park and Bronson Creek (upstream of Kaiser Rd) using three methods. This poster highlights the Fanno Creek results.
Findings will be helpful for quantifying the advantages and disadvantages of beaver dams and ponds on water quality and any associated changes in habitat diversity.
Beaver dams and associated ponding affect sediment transport and trapping by pushing water onto the floodplain and decreasing stream velocity, allowing for increased sediment deposition.
For this part of the Tualatin beaver study, USGS assessed changes in sediment dynamics along beaver-affected reaches of Fanno Creek at Greenway Park and Bronson Creek. Here, we highlight results from the Fanno Creek reach. Fanno Creek is a high-energy urban stream with sufficient velocity and turbulence to erode and transport huge loads of sediment during storms.
Findings will be helpful for quantifying the effects of beaver dams and ponds on sediment dynamics in flashy urban streams that have the erosive power and capacity to carry large amounts of sediment during storm events.
Below are news stories associated with this project.
Date published: August 25, 2009
Only trace concentrations of three pharmaceuticals were detected in northwest Oregon's Fanno Creek according to a recently released study testing for 21 of the most commonly used pharmaceuticals.
Caffeine, cotinine – a chemical derived from nicotine, and acetaminophen – a pain reliever, were among the most prevalent compounds present in the water, but at very low concentrations.