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Continuous monitoring and Bayesian estimation of nutrient and sediment loads from Illinois watersheds, for water years 2016–2020

November 10, 2021

The State of Illinois is one of the leading contributors of nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediment to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. During water years 2016–20, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, operated continuous monitoring stations on eight major rivers in Illinois to better quantify nutrient and sediment loadings from the State of Illinois to the Mississippi River. This report estimates nitrate, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment loadings over that period, which can provide a benchmark against which to assess future changes in loading.

In addition, this report develops a new method for incorporating the uncertainty created by gaps in continuous datasets based on Bayesian machine learning. Data gaps are a common problem in continuous monitoring, and gap filling is necessary to quantify loadings and the uncertainty in loadings, which is essential if these results are to provide a benchmark for future studies. The uncertainty estimates may also be useful in an operational context, and this report provides examples of how uncertainty can be used in monitoring-network design and potentially reducing monitoring costs.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Continuous monitoring and Bayesian estimation of nutrient and sediment loads from Illinois watersheds, for water years 2016–2020
DOI 10.3133/sir20215092
Authors Timothy O. Hodson, Paul J. Terrio, Colin S. Peake, David J. Fazio
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2021-5092
Index ID sir20215092
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Illinois Water Science Center