Hydrologic Monitoring and Analysis to Support Water Resource Management in the City of Roanoke

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The U.S. Geological Survey, partnering with the City of Roanoke and Virginia Tech, are working to monitor the water volume and quality in streams throughout the City of Roanoke. There are currently six monitoring stations within the city. Water-quality data are collected at five stations through real-time monitors and manual sampling to support the estimation of suspended sediment loads. The overall objective of the study is to quantify the amount of sediment delivered from the City of Roanoke to the Roanoke River The results of this project will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater control measures taken within the watershed.

The U.S. Geological Survey is also partnering with the City of Roanoke to operate a network of nine precipitation stations that measure real-time precipitation within the City. This network provides a tool for stormwater managers, utilities, and first responders to gain a better understanding of real time precipitation in an urban environment.

Overview:

The balanced natural process of riverine sediment transport is necessary for landscape formation, river dynamics, and ecological function; however, human activities commonly disrupt this balance resulting in excess sediment transport impairing ecological function. Regulatory programs seek to improve the ecological condition of affected rivers by controlling sediment transport. These control measures are costly for the localities responsible for implementing them – an estimated $100 to 150 million will be needed for the City of Roanoke (COR) to implement the control measures required to meet various Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for waterways within the City. While the COR is responsible for complying with the TMDLs on waterways within its jurisdiction, activities in the watersheds upstream of the COR also contribute to the conditions within the COR, and, as stewards of taxpayer dollars, COR officials have expressed concern about those upstream activities and the impacts they may have on waterways that flow through the COR. Accurate monitoring-based information about the load of suspended sediment generated within the COR is necessary to evaluate and track the allocations and reductions of sediment assigned to the COR through the TMDL. Additionally, monitored data are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater management plans and can help the COR effectively invest in strategies that result in the greatest water-quality improvements. The proposed monitoring network will quantify the suspended sediment load contributed from the COR to the Roanoke River.

The overall objective of the water-quality monitoring network will be satisfied by:

1. Collecting discrete suspended sediment samples at two monitoring stations in the Tinker Creek watershed, at two monitoring stations on the Roanoke River, and at a single monitoring station in the Lick Run watershed
2. Measuring real-time water level, water temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity data at two monitoring stations in the Tinker Creek watershed, a single monitoring station in the Lick Run watershed, and at two monitoring stations on the Roanoke River
3. Computing real-time streamflow data at two monitoring locations in the Tinker Creek watershed and at a single monitoring station in the Lick Run watershed
4. Estimating streamflow data at two monitoring locations along the Roanoke River using existing USGS Roanoke River streamgages
5. Developing regression models to compute instantaneous suspended sediment concentrations that are used to compute accurate suspended sediment loads following published USGS methodology.

The objective of precipitation monitoring network will be satisfied by:

1. Installing operating, and maintaining a network of nine precipitation gages within the City of Roanoke.
2. Presenting the data in near-real time via USGS National Water Information Systems (NWIS) and a state-level internet mapping application.

Water Quality and Quantity Data:

Site ID: 0205551460 Lick Run above Patton Ave at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 02055379 Tinker Creek Upper at Columbia St at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 0205551614 Tinker Creek ab Glade Creek at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 02054750 Roanoke River at Route 117 at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 02055080 Roanoke River at Thirteenth St Br at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 02055000 Roanoke River at Roanoke, VA (streamflow and water level only).

Computed suspended sediment concentration and load at the Lick Run monitoring station may be viewed using the National Real-Time Water Quality Page

Precipitation Data:

Site ID: 0205551460 Lick Run above Patton Ave. at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371339079554400 Meteorological Station at Garden City at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371459079560300 Meteorological Station at Mill Mountain Park at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371518079591700 Meteorological Station at Shrine Hill Park at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371520080015100 Meteorological Station at Hidden Valley at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371657080002800 Meteorological Station at Strauss Park at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371709079580800 Meteorological Station at Fire Station 5 at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371824080002600 Meteorological Station along Route 117 at Roanoke, VA.
Site ID: 371840079534900 Meteorological Station at Blue Hills Drive at Roanoke, VA.

Precipitation data may also be viewed using our Interactive Precipitation Map.