Suspended-sediment and total phosphorus loads were computed for two sites in the Upper Klamath Basin on the Wood and Williamson Rivers, the two main tributaries to Upper Klamath Lake. High temporal resolution turbidity and acoustic backscatter data were used to develop surrogate regression models to compute instantaneous concentrations and loads on these rivers. Regression models for the Williamson River site showed strong correlations of turbidity with total phosphorus and suspended-sediment concentrations (adjusted coefficients of determination [Adj R2]=0.73 and 0.95, respectively). Regression models for the Wood River site had relatively poor, although statistically significant, relations of turbidity with total phosphorus, and turbidity and acoustic backscatter with suspended sediment concentration, with high prediction uncertainty. Total phosphorus loads for the partial 2014 water year (excluding October and November 2013) were 39 and 28 metric tons for the Williamson and Wood Rivers, respectively. These values are within the low range of phosphorus loads computed for these rivers from prior studies using water-quality data collected by the Klamath Tribes. The 2014 partial year total phosphorus loads on the Williamson and Wood Rivers are assumed to be biased low because of the absence of data from the first 2 months of water year 2014, and the drought conditions that were prevalent during that water year. Therefore, total phosphorus and suspended-sediment loads in this report should be considered as representative of a low-water year for the two study sites. Comparing loads from the Williamson and Wood River monitoring sites for November 2013–September 2014 shows that the Williamson and Sprague Rivers combined, as measured at the Williamson River site, contributed substantially more suspended sediment to Upper Klamath Lake than the Wood River, with 4,360 and 1,450 metric tons measured, respectively.
Surrogate techniques have proven useful at the two study sites, particularly in using turbidity to compute suspended-sediment concentrations in the Williamson River. This proof-of-concept effort for computing total phosphorus concentrations using turbidity at the Williamson and Wood River sites also has shown that with additional samples over a wide range of flow regimes, high-temporal-resolution total phosphorus loads can be estimated on a daily, monthly, and annual basis, along with uncertainties for total phosphorus and suspended-sediment concentrations computed using regression models. Sediment-corrected backscatter at the Wood River has potential for estimating suspended-sediment loads from the Wood River Valley as well, with additional analysis of the variable streamflow measured at that site. Suspended-sediment and total phosphorus loads with a high level of temporal resolution will be useful to water managers, restoration practitioners, and scientists in the Upper Klamath Basin working toward the common goal of decreasing nutrient and sediment loads in Upper Klamath Lake.
|Title||Evaluating external nutrient and suspended-sediment loads to Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, using surrogate regressions with real-time turbidity and acoustic backscatter data|
|Authors||Liam N. Schenk, Chauncey W. Anderson, Paul Diaz, Marc A. Stewart|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Scientific Investigations Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Oregon Water Science Center|