Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Surface-water-quality assessment of the Yakima River basin, Washington: Project description

January 1, 1994

In April 1986, the U.S. Geological Survey began the National Water Quality Assessment program to: (1) provide a nationally consistent description of the current status of water quality, (2) define water quality trends that have occurred over recent decades, and (3) relate past and present water quality conditions to relevant natural features, the history of land and water use, and land management and waste management practices. At present (1987), The National Water Quality Assessment program is in a pilot studies phase, in which assessment concepts and approaches are being tested and modified to prepare for possible full implementation of the program. Seven pilot projects (four surface water projects and three groundwater projects) have been started. The Yakima River basin in Washington is one of the pilot surface water project areas. The Yakima River basin drains in area of 6,155 sq mi and contains about 1,900 river mi of perennial streams. Major land use activities include growing and harvesting timber, dryland pasture grazing, intense farming and irrigated agriculture, and urbanization. Water quality issues that result from these land uses include potentially large concentrations of suspended sediment, bacteria, nutrients, pesticides, and trace elements that may affect water used for human consumption, fish propagation and passage, contact recreation, livestock watering, and irrigation. Data will be collected in a nine year cycle. The first three years of the cycle will be a period of concentrated data acquisition and interpretation. For the next six years, sample collection will be done at a much lower level of intensity to document the occurrence of any gross changes in water quality. This nine year cycle would then be repeated. Three types of sampling activities will be used for data acquisition: fixed location station sampling, synoptic sampling, and intensive reach studies. (Lantz-PTT)

Citation Information

Publication Year 1987
Title Surface-water-quality assessment of the Yakima River basin, Washington: Project description
DOI 10.3133/ofr87238
Authors S. W. McKenzie, J. F. Rinella
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 87-238
Index ID ofr87238
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization