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Pesticides detected in surface waters and fish of the Red River of the North drainage basin

April 1, 1994

The Red River of the North drainage basin (herein referred to as Red River Basin) within the United States is a study unit under the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The overall goals of this program, initiated to better define the status and trends of the Nation’s water quality, are to address regional and national water-quality issues in a nationally consistent manner. Pesticide contamination of surface water and fish is one focus of this program.

The Red River Basin is about 90,600 square kilometers (km2 ) in area and is composed of rolling prairie with a high density of prairie-pothole wetlands to the west; a very flat glacial lake bed with drainage ditches and meandering streams in the center (Red River Valley Lake Plain); morainal hills with a mosaic of agriculture, lakes, and forest in the southeast; and a flat lake-washed till plain with extensive peatlands in the northeast (fig. 1). Stoner and others (1993) have given a more complete description of the environmental setting of the Red River Basin.

Agriculture is a major component of the region’s economy, and is greatest in the Red River Valley Lake Plain. Principal crops are wheat, barley, oats, sunflowers, corn, soybeans, dry beans, potatoes, sugarbeets, alfalfa hay, and other hay. Herbicide, insecticide, and fungicide use depends on crop type and environmental stresses such as crop disease, drought, and periodic insect-pest infestation. This paper focuses on the occurrence, movement, and fate of agricultural pesticides that are applied to crops, but improper disposal, and use of pesticides for household pests, lawn care, golf courses, and home gardening can also result in contamination of the aquatic environment. Furthermore, atmospheric transport is known to transport pesticides to regions far from their source (Kurtz, 1990).

Pesticide data have been collected in the Red River Basin by various Federal, State, and local agencies. Tornes and Brigham (1994) recently summarized many of these historical data. This paper summarizes selected data collected as part of the NAWQA program during 1992-93, and briefly compares these data to historical data and to pesticide usage.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1994
Title Pesticides detected in surface waters and fish of the Red River of the North drainage basin
DOI
Authors Mark E. Brigham
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70170343
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Minnesota Water Science Center