The Midwest Stream Quality Assessment is the first of several regional studies that are being conducted as part of the Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA) project, a component of the Cycle 3 National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) project. The MSQA was a collaborative study amongst NAWQA, the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC), and the USEPA National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA). The objective of the MSQA study was to characterize water-quality stressors - contaminants, nutrients, sediment, and habitat and ecological conditions in streams across the Midwest and to determine the relative effects of these stressors on aquatic biota in the streams (U.S. Geological Survey, 2012). During the 2013 crop growing season, 100 streams in the MSQA study region were monitored to assess water quality and ecological conditions.
Water chemistry at the sampled sites are influenced by the physical and anthropogenic characteristics of the site and associated watershed, the area of land that forms the drainage system for the sampled stream. Land use and land cover characteristics of riparian zones upstream and near the sampled site assist in determining the streams ecological condition. Efficient quantification of these environmental characteristics requires the geographic coordinates of the sampled sites, and the geospatial delineations of their watershed boundary and riparian-zone boundary. This dataset consists of the geospatial datasets developed for characterizing the study area and streams sampled for MSQA: the spatial extent of the study area, watersheds and riparian zones, and the geographic locations of the sampled sites.