Friday, November 7, 2014

Nitrate in the Mississippi River Basin Surface Waters Now Tracked and Accessible in Real Time

USGS: Nutrients remain elevated in U.S. streams
and groundwater
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) now makes available nitrate water concentration information from select Mississippi River Basin stations, and from a total of 86 sites nationwide.  Within the Mississippi River Basin, nitrate remote monitoring stations have been set up at these River main stem and large tributary locations: the Iowa River at Wapello, Iowa;  the Illinois River at Florence, Illinois; the Ohio River at Olmsted, Illinois; and the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Stations are also located on other Mississippi River Basin rivers and streams, including elsewhere on the Ohio and Illinois Rivers, and on the Cedar River, Iowa River, Des Moines River, Green River and Platte River, among others.

This related article, appearing in the November 4 issue of Environmental Science and Technology, provides an overview of one of the uses for that monitoring network data.  The article summarizes USGS efforts to quantifying nitrate loading from the Mississippi River, providing a basis, ultimately, for predicting Gulf of Mexico summer hypoxia. USGS used recent advances in high frequency nitrate sensors to evaluate nitrate loading model performance compared to loads actually measured in the lower Mississippi River.

The remote monitoring stations are operated in cooperation with several local, state and other federal agencies, and supported by the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network, Cooperative Water Program, and National Water-Quality Assessment Program.

The USGS lead author, Brian Pellerin, can be contacted with any questions about the Environmental Science and Technology article. Mike Woodside, of the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program can be contacted with questions concerning the monitoring network.

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