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Water-quality trends for rivers and streams in the Delaware River Basin using Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) models, Seasonal Kendall Trend (SKT) tests, and multisource data, Water Year 1978-2018

December 3, 2020

This data release provides water-quality trends for rivers and streams in the Delaware River Basin determined using the Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) model and the Seasonal Kendall Trend (SKT) test. Sixteen water-quality parameters were assessed, including nutrients (ammonia, nitrate, filtered orthophosphate, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and unfiltered orthophosphate), major ions (calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfate), salinity indicators (total dissolved solids and specific conductance), and sediment (total suspended solids and suspended sediment concentration). The child items include the input and output data used in the modeling and testing of water-quality trends. The attached files include the scripts used in these analyses, a readMe files for these scripts and tables summarizing information about the sites used in the analysis. These trends build off the national efforts of Oelsner and others (2017) and Murphy and others (2018), with some variations in data screening and processing. One major divergence from these previous efforts was that screened site-parameter combinations were screened for the longest period of record that passed various temporal and seasonal criteria ("maximum calibration" approach) instead of screening by pre-defined trend periods. An additional difference was that water-quality data were combined from multiple monitoring locations and collecting organizations using hierarchical clustering based on the distance between monitoring locations on the same stream reach (as determined by the National Hydrography Dataset comid). Data that were a part of these "cluster sites" were manually reviewed prior to running SKT and WRTDS. Input data for SKT includes 124 sites (including individual sites and cluster sites) and 1,208 site-parameter combinations. Input data for WRTDS, which required additional screenings beyond those used for the SKT test and a paired streamflow gage, includes 62 sites and 476 site-parameter combinations. For both methods, some site-parameter combinations were not run due to the amount of censored data, or the results were rejected due to poor model fit. Trends are reported for four trend periods (1978-2018, 1998-2018, 2003-2018, and 2008-2018), as the available screened data allow, and for the entire screened period of record for each parameter at each site. This collection of trend results leverages the monitoring efforts of many collecting organizations across the Delaware River Basin and can serve to better understand changing water-quality conditions across this basin. References Cited: Murphy, J.C., Farmer, W.H., Sprague, L.A., De Cicco, L.A., and Hirsch, R.M., 2018, Water-quality trends and trend component estimates for the Nation's rivers and streams using Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS) models and generalized flow normalization, 1972-2012: U.S. Geological Survey data release, Oelsner, G.P., Sprague, L.A., Murphy, J.C., Zuellig, R.E., Johnson, H.M., Ryberg, K.R., Falcone, J.A., Stets, E.G., Vecchia, A.V., Riskin, M.L., De Cicco, L.A., Mills, T.J., Farmer, W.H., 2017, Water-quality trends in the Nation?s rivers and streams 1972?2012?Data preparation, statistical methods, and trend results: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report, Shoda, M.E., Murphy, J.C., Falcone, J.A., and Duris, J.W., 2019, Multisource surface-water-quality data and U.S. Geological Survey streamgage match for the Delaware River Basin: U.S. Geological Survey data release, National Water Quality Monitoring Council, Water Quality Portal (WQP), Accessed 2020-11-03.