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Using a Geographic Information System to determine the relation between stream quality and geology in the Roberts Creek watershed, Clayton County, Iowa

December 1, 1993

A geographic information system (GIS) was used to determine the relation between the stream-water quality and underlying geology in Roberts Creek watershed, Clayton County, Iowa, for base-flow conditions during the spring and summer of 1988–90. Geologic, stream, basin and subbasin boundaries, and water-quality sampling-site coverages were created by digitizing available maps. A contour coverage was created from digital line-graph data. The areal extent of geologic units subcropping in each subbasin was quantified with GIS, and the results then were output and joined with the discharge and water-quality data for statistical analyses. Illustrations showing the geology of the study area and the results of the study were prepared using GIS. By using GIS and a statistical software package, a weak but statistically significant relation was found between the water temperature, pH, and nitrogen concentrations in Roberts Creek and the underlying geology during base-flow conditions.