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Nutrient and suspended-sediment concentrations, loads, and yields in upper Macoupin Creek, Illinois, 2017–21

February 23, 2023

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Macoupin County Soil and Water Conservation District and the American Farmland Trust, undertook a monitoring effort from 2017 to 2021 in the upper Macoupin Creek watershed. The monitoring effort was to determine and characterize nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended-sediment concentrations, loads, and yields for a 566.7 square kilometer area of the Macoupin Creek watershed at two locations on upper Macoupin Creek bracketing a segment of the watershed where increased implementation of conservation land-use practices was planned. Two monitoring stations were established, consisting of an upstream site (Macoupin Creek at Highway 108 near Carlinville, Illinois; U.S. Geological Survey streamgage 05586647) and a downstream site (Macoupin Creek at Highway 111 near Summerville, Ill.; U.S. Geological Survey streamgage 05586745). Data collected at these stations included continuous stream discharge and periodic samples for nutrients and suspended sediment. A Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season–Kalman model was implemented to estimate daily concentrations for nitrate plus nitrite, total phosphorus, and suspended sediment for both monitoring stations. These daily concentrations were used in conjunction with the continuous stream discharge data to derive estimates of constituent flux, loads, and yields.

During the study period, the study area subbasin of the upper Macoupin Creek watershed reduced downstream nitrate and total phosphorus cummulative yields by approximately 54 and 21 percent, respectively; however, the cummulative yield of suspended sediment increased by approximately 10 percent from inputs within the study area. These data indicate that nitrate and phosphorus transport is greater from the upstream subbasin and being diluted in the combined subbasin by lower transport from the study area, whereas suspended sediment is being contributed from the study area reach, presumably through surface runoff and streambank and streambed erosion.

Publication Year 2023
Title Nutrient and suspended-sediment concentrations, loads, and yields in upper Macoupin Creek, Illinois, 2017–21
DOI 10.3133/sir20225131
Authors Luis A. Garcia, Paul J. Terrio, Adam E. Manaster
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2022-5131
Index ID sir20225131
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Central Midwest Water Science Center