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Land Use Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems

Landuse has a dominant influence on aquatic ecosystems due to its influence on the hydrologic cycle, water quality, stream habitat, aquatic species, and ultimately the overall function of the aquatic ecosystem. The USGS WSC is involved in the monitoring and research of landuse and how landuse activities influence aquatic ecosystems. This includes the influence of forest, urbanization, and agricultural systems. Much of this work is focused on determining the interactions of physical or chemical stressors and how they influence aquatic ecosystems. The influence of landuse on aquatic ecosystems can be done through assessing changes in species composition, fish heath, bioaccumulation of contaminants, alterations of habitat, excessive production of nuisance aquatic plants, or alterations in the ability of an aquatic ecosystem to function normally.

Filter Total Items: 23

Puget Sound, WA Nutrient SPARROW Model

The Issue: Puget Sound watershed nutrient loads are known to have an impact on marine water quality along with wastewater treatment plants discharging to Puget Sound. To effectively reduce and control nutrient loads to the Sound, the Washington State Department of Ecology needs a regional watershed model that fits within their Puget Sound Nutrient Source Reduction Project’s management framework...
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Puget Sound, WA Nutrient SPARROW Model

The Issue: Puget Sound watershed nutrient loads are known to have an impact on marine water quality along with wastewater treatment plants discharging to Puget Sound. To effectively reduce and control nutrient loads to the Sound, the Washington State Department of Ecology needs a regional watershed model that fits within their Puget Sound Nutrient Source Reduction Project’s management framework...
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Water Temperature Mapping in the Snoqualmie and Skykomish River Basins

Over the past two decades water temperatures in the Snoqualmie and Skykomish River basins has frequently exceeded temperature criteria established to protect Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout. These rivers combine in Monroe, WA to form the Snohomish River, the second largest producer of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. The effects of high water...
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Water Temperature Mapping in the Snoqualmie and Skykomish River Basins

Over the past two decades water temperatures in the Snoqualmie and Skykomish River basins has frequently exceeded temperature criteria established to protect Endangered Species Act-listed Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, and bull trout. These rivers combine in Monroe, WA to form the Snohomish River, the second largest producer of Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. The effects of high water...
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Central Columbia Plateau - Yakima River Basin

The Central Columbia Plateau/Yakima River Basin (CCYK) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) study unit is located in Central Washington, USA. The study unit is dominated by intensive agricultural practices, with irrigated agriculture a common practice for crop production (see study area description). Due to the intensive agriculture and irrigation, this area exhibits a number of water quality...
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Central Columbia Plateau - Yakima River Basin

The Central Columbia Plateau/Yakima River Basin (CCYK) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) study unit is located in Central Washington, USA. The study unit is dominated by intensive agricultural practices, with irrigated agriculture a common practice for crop production (see study area description). Due to the intensive agriculture and irrigation, this area exhibits a number of water quality...
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Puget Sound Basin NAWQA

The Puget Sound Basin (PUGT) study unit of the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program encompasses a 13,700-square-mile area that drains to Puget Sound and adjacent marine waters. Included in this region are all or part of 13 counties in western Washington, as well as the headwaters of the Skagit River and part of the Nooksack River in British Columbia, Canada. The Puget Sound Basin...
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Puget Sound Basin NAWQA

The Puget Sound Basin (PUGT) study unit of the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program encompasses a 13,700-square-mile area that drains to Puget Sound and adjacent marine waters. Included in this region are all or part of 13 counties in western Washington, as well as the headwaters of the Skagit River and part of the Nooksack River in British Columbia, Canada. The Puget Sound Basin...
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Stillaguamish Emerging Contaminants

Emerging contaminants are a group of chemical compounds that generally include pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, surfactants, industrial and household chemicals, and food additives. Their presence in the environment is typically associated with discharges from wastewater treatment-plants (WWTP), on-site septic systems, and some animal production operations. They are of particular interest...
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Stillaguamish Emerging Contaminants

Emerging contaminants are a group of chemical compounds that generally include pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, surfactants, industrial and household chemicals, and food additives. Their presence in the environment is typically associated with discharges from wastewater treatment-plants (WWTP), on-site septic systems, and some animal production operations. They are of particular interest...
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National Parks North Coast and Cascades Network Critical Loads

Nutrients such as nitrogen are essential for plant and animal growth and nourishment, but overabundance can cause adverse effects. Excess amounts of nitrogen from the atmosphere can cause a lake to go through eutrophication, the process in which excess nitrogen triggers a series of events that cause a lake to become fatally low in dissolved oxygen. Alpine lakes are especially sensitive to excess...
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National Parks North Coast and Cascades Network Critical Loads

Nutrients such as nitrogen are essential for plant and animal growth and nourishment, but overabundance can cause adverse effects. Excess amounts of nitrogen from the atmosphere can cause a lake to go through eutrophication, the process in which excess nitrogen triggers a series of events that cause a lake to become fatally low in dissolved oxygen. Alpine lakes are especially sensitive to excess...
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Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program Sampling

The Issue: The State of Washington issues Municipal Stormwater Permits to local governments in the Puget Sound region that require them to develop and implement a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants and protects the quality of water in rivers, streams, lakes and Puget Sound. The permitees in partnership with the State need to measure whether water quality and...
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Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program Sampling

The Issue: The State of Washington issues Municipal Stormwater Permits to local governments in the Puget Sound region that require them to develop and implement a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants and protects the quality of water in rivers, streams, lakes and Puget Sound. The permitees in partnership with the State need to measure whether water quality and...
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Coal Transport

The Issue: Federal and state natural resource managers and Tribes are concerned with the environmental impacts from unintentional release of coal dust from train cars during transport through the Northwest. Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon would substantially increase rail traffic through the Northwest and the release of coal dust to the environment.How USGS will help...
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Coal Transport

The Issue: Federal and state natural resource managers and Tribes are concerned with the environmental impacts from unintentional release of coal dust from train cars during transport through the Northwest. Proposed new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon would substantially increase rail traffic through the Northwest and the release of coal dust to the environment.How USGS will help...
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Recharge and frozen ground in the PNW

The Issue: Seasonally frozen ground occurs over approximately one-third of the contiguous United States, and the extent and duration of frozen ground have been decreasing as a result of global warming. In semi-arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau and Snake River Plain in the Pacific Northwest, nearly all natural recharge occurs between October and March when intermittent or seasonal frozen...
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Recharge and frozen ground in the PNW

The Issue: Seasonally frozen ground occurs over approximately one-third of the contiguous United States, and the extent and duration of frozen ground have been decreasing as a result of global warming. In semi-arid regions such as the Columbia Plateau and Snake River Plain in the Pacific Northwest, nearly all natural recharge occurs between October and March when intermittent or seasonal frozen...
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Stormwater Microarray Study

Evaluation of Juvenile Trout Microarray Tools in the Development of an Ambient Monitoring Approach for Urban Streams
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Stormwater Microarray Study

Evaluation of Juvenile Trout Microarray Tools in the Development of an Ambient Monitoring Approach for Urban Streams
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Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is known for its clear, near-pristine water. Because the water is very low in plant nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, the lake is extremely susceptible to even small increases in nutrient levels, which could cause algal blooms and impact the health of three species of fish in the lake. Currently, the growth of bottom-dwelling algae in developed...
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Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park is known for its clear, near-pristine water. Because the water is very low in plant nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, the lake is extremely susceptible to even small increases in nutrient levels, which could cause algal blooms and impact the health of three species of fish in the lake. Currently, the growth of bottom-dwelling algae in developed...
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Green River Geomorphic Responses

In the Pacific Northwest, water, sediment, and vegetation primarily determine the form of large river channels and shape their ecosystems. Dams on rivers affect all of these elements, with consequences for habitats and aquatic species. Understanding how water, sediment, and vegetation interact in habitats is key to managing rivers. In the case of the middle Green River in King County, Washington...
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Green River Geomorphic Responses

In the Pacific Northwest, water, sediment, and vegetation primarily determine the form of large river channels and shape their ecosystems. Dams on rivers affect all of these elements, with consequences for habitats and aquatic species. Understanding how water, sediment, and vegetation interact in habitats is key to managing rivers. In the case of the middle Green River in King County, Washington...
Learn More