Dane County water-quality monitoring program

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Many Dane County, Wis., streams and lakes have been degraded due to excessive nutrients and sediment contributed primarily by agriculture and urbanization. The goal is to build a long-term base of streamflow, lake stage, and water-quality data essential for water-resource planning and assessment purposes for streams and lakes in Dane County, with a focus on the Yahara River Basin.

Problem

Water resources in Dane County are abundant and are important to the economy and the quality of life for the people that live and recreate there. However, water quality in many Dane County streams and lakes has been degraded due to excessive nutrients and sediment contributed primarily by agriculture and urbanization. Streamflow and water-quality data are needed for the determination of trends, assessment of the impact of various practices designed to improve water quality, development and calibration of models, and future water-resource planning.

 

Purpose

Build a long-term base of streamflow, lake stage, and water-quality data essential for water-resource planning and assessment purposes for streams and lakes in Dane County, with a focus on the Yahara River Basin.

Northlake Pond water-quality detention basin in Middleton, Wis., in 2008.

Northlake Pond water-quality detention basin in Middleton, Wis., in 2008.

 

Objectives

The objectives of this program are to collect long-term water-quality data to establish a database, including

  1. Operating of continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations with automatic water-quality samplers to compute daily sediment and nutrient loads at selected tributaries to Lake Mendota
  2. Conducting baseflow water-quality sampling 3 times per year during the open-water season at selected streams in Dane County
  3. Measuring discharge and/or lake stage at all selected monitoring locations
  4. Archiving selected data in NWIS database
  5. Collaborating with partners to interpret the data, publish findings, and help guide water-resources decision making based on high-quality data

 

Approach

Infiltration basin at retail dealership on Airport Road in Middleton, Wis.

Infiltration basin at retail dealership on Airport Road in Middleton, Wis., in 2008.

Streamflow-monitoring stations with automatic, 24-bottle water-quality samplers are used to pump samples of streamwater during significant storm-runoff periods at selected tributaries to Lake Mendota. In general, 8-12 samples are selected for laboratory analysis for each runoff period. Monthly baseflow samples are also collected. Concentrations from the samples (mg/l) are combined with continuous streamflow data (cubic feet per second) to compute a daily loads (pounds or tons per day). Note that there is not an automated sampler at the Yahara River at Fulton monitoring station – samples are collected approximately every three weeks and during selected storm-runoff periods.

Long-term baseflow monitoring:

On a rotating basis, four streams in Dane County are sampled for selected water-quality constituents (sediment, nutrients, common ions, and field measurements) three times per year at baseflow conditions during the growing season. There are 19 sites in the USGS sampling rotation: 6 are coldwater streams, 10 are warmwater streams, and 3 are streams that receive wastewater from sewage treatment plans. Each site is revisited approximately every four years.

 

PUBLICATIONS

(See the Publications tab above for official USGS publications.) 

Selected Non-USGS Publications:

Other resources:

Monitoring data

Streamflow, lake stage, and water-quality data are collected at numerous continuous-record sites. The number of monitoring locations can vary slightly each year – this is dependent upon the needs of collaborative partners.

Data are available online on NWIS Web. Selected data are also available at INFOS Yahara.

The following is the list of monitoring locations and data collected in 2016

Streamflow, suspended sediment, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus, nitrate plus nitrite, ammonium, total Kjeldahl nitrogen

  • 05427718 YAHARA RIVER AT WINDSOR, WI

Streamflow, suspended sediment, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus

  • 05427850 YAHARA RIVER AT STATE HIGHWAY 113 AT MADISON, WI
  • 05427948 PHEASANT BRANCH AT MIDDLETON, WI
  • 05427943 PHEASANT BRANCH AT AIRPORT ROAD NEAR MIDDLETON, WI
  • 054279465 S FORK PHEASANT BRANCH @ DEMING WAY @ MIDDLETON, WI

Streamflow, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, ortho-phosphorus, nitrate plus nitrite, ammonium, total Kjeldahl nitrogen

  • 05427927 DORN (SPRING) CREEK @ CT HIGHWAY Q NR WAUNAKEE, WI
  • 05427930 DORN (SPRING) CREEK AT CT HIGHWAY M NR WAUNAKEE, WI
  • 05427880 SIXMILE CREEK AT STATE HIGHWAY 19 NEAR WAUNAKEE, WI
  • 05427910 SIXMILE CREEK @ COUNTY TRNK HIGHWY M NR WAUNAKEE, WI
  • 05430175 YAHARA RIVER NEAR FULTON, WI (no automated sampler)

Streamflow, suspended sediment, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, chloride

  • 05427965 SPRING HARBOR STORM SEWER AT MADISON, WI

Lake stage only

  • 05428000 LAKE MENDOTA AT MADISON, WI
  • 05429000 LAKE MONONA AT MADISON, WI
  • 05429485 LAKE WAUBESA AT MC FARLAND, WI
  • 25715089164700 LAKE KEGONSA AT BARBER DRIVE NEAR STOUGHTON, WI

Streamflow only

  • 05428500 YAHARA RIVER AT EAST MAIN STREET AT MADISON, WI
  • 05429500 YAHARA RIVER AT MC FARLAND, WI
  • 05429700 YAHARA RIVER @ FORTON STREET BRIDGE @ STOUGHTON, WI
  • 05430150 BADFISH CREEK NEAR COOKSVILLE, WI

Long-term baseflow water-quality sampling sites: measuring streamflow, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, specific conductance, suspended sediment, chloride, ammonium, nitrate plus nitrite, nitrite, ortho-phosphorus, total nitrogen, E. Coli

  • 05429150 MURPHY CREEK AT MADISON, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05427800 TOKEN CREEK NEAR MADISON, WI (coldwater stream)
  • 05427900 SIXMILE CREEK NEAR WAUNAKEE, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05427930 DORN (SPRING) CREEK AT CT HIGHWAY M NR WAUNAKEE, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05425830 MAUNESHA RIVER-QW SITE-NEAR SUN PRAIRIE, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05427270 KOSHKONONG CREEK NEAR SUN PRAIRIE, WI (wastewater discharge stream)
  • 05427507 KOSHKONONG CREEK NEAR ROCKDALE, WI (wastewater discharge stream)
  • 05427718 YAHARA RIVER AT WINDSOR, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 054064509 BLACK EARTH CK AT STAGECOACH RD NR CROSS PLAINS, WI (coldwater stream)
  • 05428650 EAST BRANCH STARKWEATHER CREEK AT MADISON, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05428600 WEST BRANCH STARKWEATHER CREEK AT MADISON, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05429280 NINE SPRINGS CREEK AT MOORLAND RD NEAR MADISON, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05406500 BLACK EARTH CREEK AT BLACK EARTH, WI (coldwater stream)
  • 05436000 MOUNT VERNON CREEK NEAR MOUNT VERNON, WI (coldwater stream)
  • 05427948 PHEASANT BRANCH AT MIDDLETON, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05429720 YAHARA RIVER NEAR STOUGHTON, WI (wastewater discharge stream)
  • 05427800 TOKEN CREEK NEAR MADISON, WI (coldwater stream)
  • 05429580 DOOR CREEK NEAR COTTAGE GROVE, WI (warmwater stream)
  • 05435980 WEST BRANCH SUGAR RIVER NEAR MT. VERNON, WI (coldwater stream)