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Water-quality, sediment-quality, stream-habitat, and biological data for Mustang Bayou near Houston, Texas, 2004-05

October 4, 2007

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, collected water-quality, stream-habitat, and biological data from six sites (downstream order M6-M1) primarily in Brazoria County southeast of Houston, Texas, during September 2004-August 2005 and collected bed sediment data from one site in September 2005. Water-quality data collection consisted of continuously monitored (for periods of 24 hours to several days, six times) water temperature, pH, specific conductance, and dissolved oxygen and periodically collected samples of several properties and constituents. Monitored dissolved oxygen measurements were below minimum and 24-hour criteria at all sites except M2. Nitrogen compounds, phosphorus, biochemical oxygen demand, chlorophyll-a, E. coli, chloride, sulfate, solids, suspended sediment concentration, and pesticides were assessed at all sites. Concentrations of nitrogen compounds and phosphorus did not exceed Texas State screening levels. Biochemical oxygen demand was less than 4.0 milligrams per liter at all sites except M6, where the maximum concentration was 8.1 milligrams per liter. Concentrations of chlorophyll-a were less than the State screening level at all sites except M6, where four of eight samples equaled or exceeded the screening level. Twenty of 48 samples from Mustang Bayou had E. coli densities that exceeded the State single-sample water-quality standard. Median chloride concentrations from each site were between 42.2 and 123 milligrams per liter. Fifteen pesticide compounds (six herbicides and nine insecticides) were detected in 24 water samples. The most frequently detected pesticide was atrazine, which was found in every sample. Other frequently detected pesticides were 2-chloro-4-isopropylamino-6-amino-s-triazine (CIAT), prometon, tebuthiuron, fipronil, and the pesticide degradates, fipronil sulfide and fipronil sulfone. Sediment samples were collected from the stream bottom at M1 and analyzed for concentrations of trace elements (metals), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls. No organochlorine pesticides or polychlorinated biphenyls were detected. No concentrations of metals exceeded State screening levels. Measurable concentrations of 11 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds were detected, and three other PAH compounds were detected but not quantified by the laboratory. Stream habitat and aquatic biota (benthic macroinvertebrates and fish) were surveyed at each site three times during the study to evaluate aquatic life use. Characteristics of habitat measured during each survey were scored using a habitat quality index. Average aquatic-life-use scores were 'limited' for M3-M6 and 'intermediate' for M1 and M2. A total of 2,557 macroinvertebrate individuals were identified from Mustang Bayou. Benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages were scored using indexes specified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Average aquatic-life-use scores were 'limited' at M1, 'intermediate' at M3-M6, and 'high' at M2. Forty-six species of fish representing 20 families were collected from Mustang Bayou. A total of 4,115 fish were collected. Sunfish (Centrarchidae) was the most abundant family, accounting for about 28 percent. Aquatic-life-use scores at sites in Mustang Bayou were determined using the regional index of biotic integrity for ecoregion 34 and were 'high' for all sites.

Publication Year 2007
Title Water-quality, sediment-quality, stream-habitat, and biological data for Mustang Bayou near Houston, Texas, 2004-05
DOI 10.3133/ds263
Authors Debra A. Sneck-Fahrer, Jeffery W. East
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 263
Index ID ds263
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Texas Water Science Center