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NIWQP Project/Study Area—


Middle Green River Basin, Utah

Location
The Green River and its tributaries drain an area of nearly 45,000 square miles in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. The Middle Green River Basin is operationally defined as an area of about 12,500 square miles that consists of the drainage of the main stem of the Green River and its tributaries between Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the confluence of the Price and Green Rivers 15 miles north of the city of Green River, Utah. (Detail map pdf)


History
As a result of the Jensen Unit, Central Utah Project, drain water from the irrigated area was delivered to Stewart Lake Wildlife Management Area, near Vernal, Utah.

These water deliveries started in the early 1980's with the intent of providing a stable water supply to the lake. The plan for delivery of water to Stewart Lake (near Vernal, Utah) was part of Reclamation's mitigation program for the Jensen Unit, CUP.

After several years of deliveries, it was determined that the drain water contained high levels of selenium, a trace element known to cause deaths and deformities in fish and birds. Water, invertebrates and other food sources for fish and birds, and sediment were considered to be highly contaminated and impacting both migratory birds and endangered fish (razorback suckers) that use the lake and lake outfall to the Green River.

In 1998, the National Irrigation Water Quality Program funded construction to collect the irrigation drain water and divert it to the Green River. A new, but clean, water supply was obtained for Stewart Lake through agreements with the Uinta Valley Water Users Association. The NIWQP partially funded construction of a pipeline that was used to deliver this new water supply to the lake.

The primary issue is related to clean up of contaminated sediments in the lake bed. These sediments may be re-contaminating water, invertebrates, fish, and birds at Stewart Lake. Options have been proposed to remove the lake bed sediments, isolate them so that selenium cannot migrate back to the river, and replace the sediment with new clean lake bed material. Costs for such work could be beyond NIWQP's capability. In 1998, the Core team started evaluating less costly "in situ" measures for sediment cleanup and evaluating ground water inflows to determine if they may contributing to the ongoing selenium loading to the lake bed.

As part of efforts to cleanup the sediments, a channel was constructed within the lake to help drain it seasonally. Stewart Lake Inlets and outlets were installed to allow for deliveries from the Green River during high spring flows. Management of these flows through the lake was considered as a possible remediation option for flushing the contaminated sediments, both in the near and long-term. At this point, the use of flushing flows has not proven to be a likely solution to resolving sediment contamination issues.

Besides use of flushing flows, demonstration programs have been conducted using mechanical (tilling) and chemical remediation options. Test plots have been constructed to determine if these concepts will work to reduce selenium concentrations in the sediments. These field test results are not fully evaluated at this time. The team may also consider using bioremediation and phytoremediation alternatives.

Activities during FY 2003 considered groundwater inflows at the north end of Stewart Lake. A project to collect these flows, place them in a pipe, and convey them to the Green River was implemented in FY 2004. Monitoring started in 2004 to evaluate the results of these activities.


Phases 2 and 3 Data
Chemical Data From Water:
ASCII - 366 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 1,319 KB .xls File

Bottom Material:
ASCII - 6 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 34 KB .xls File

Inorganic:
ASCII - 253 KB .dat File  or  Microsoft Excel - 937 KB .xls File


Project Specific Reports
Yahnke, J.W., 2004, Stewart Lake Selenium (PDF 523K)

Yahnke, J.W., 2004, Report on Sediment Samples Collected from Stewart Lake, Utah in 2002 (comprised of several pdf files): Only the cover and page 12 of the main body of the report are intended to be printed in color. The file, AppCover.pdf, contains the separator sheets intended to be placed in front of the 3 appendices; these separator sheets are intended to be printed on color stock. Once printed, the report would have to be assembled by hand. SETAC Poster 2002 SETAC Poster-Biota 2002 (Powerpoint 5 M)

Rowland, R.C., Allen, D.V., Stephens, D.W., Yahnke, J.W., Darnall, N.L., Waddell, B., 2002, Hydrologic, Sediment, and Biological Data Associated with Irrigation Drainage in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah and Colorado, Water Years 1991-2000, U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 02-343, p. 112.


Related Documents
Allert, A.C., Finger, S.E., Olson, S.J., Callahan, E.V., and Waddell, B., 1994, Toxicity of irrigation drainwater in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah: (abs.) in Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 15th Annual Meeting, Abstracts of the technical sessions, Denver, Colorado, October 30-November 3, 1994, p. 126.

Hamilton, S.J., And Buhl, K.J., 1994, Irrigation drainwater effects on the endangered larval Razorback Sucker and Bonytail in the Middle Green River: (abs.) In Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 15th Annual Meeting, Abstracts of the Technical Sessions, Denver, Colorado, October 30-November 3, 1994, p. 75.

Hamilton, S.J., And Waddell, B., 1994, Selenium in eggs and milt of razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) in the Middle Green River, Utah: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 27: 195-201.

Hamilton, S.J., 1993. Significance of selenium in eggs and milt of razorback suckers in the middle Green River. Final Report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Salt Lake City, UT. US Fish and Wildlife Service, Yankton, SC. 22 pages.

Klasing, S.A., 1993b, Agricultural drainage water contamination in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah: A public health perspective for selenium and selected elements: Klasing and Associates, Davis, California, 53 p.

Noyes, S.J., 1993, Planning for remediation of irrigation-induced water quality problems in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah: in Allen, R.G., And Neale, C.M.U., eds., Management of irrigation and drainage systems: integrated perspectives: American Society of Civil Engineers, Proceedings of the 1993 National Conference on Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, Park City, Utah, July 21-23, 1993, p. 778-785.

Rowland, R.C., Allen, D.V., Stephens, D.W., Yahnke, J.W., Darnall, N.L., Waddell, B., 2002, Hydrologic, Sediment, and Biological Data Associated with Irrigation Drainage in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah and Colorado, Water Years 1991-2000, U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 02-343, p. 112.

Stephens, D.W., Waddell, B., Peitz, L.A., and Miller, J.B., 1992, Detailed study of selenium and selected elements in water, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Middle Green River basin, Utah, 1988-90: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4084, 164 pages.

Peltz, LA, and Waddell, B., 1991, Physical, chemical, and biological data for detailed study of irrigation drainage in the Middle Green River basin, Utah 1988-89, with selected data for 1982-87: US Geological Survey Open-File Report 91-530, 213 p., 1 pl.

Stephens, D.W., Waddell, B., and Miller, J.B., 1988. Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah, 1986-87: US Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4011, 70 pages.

Yahnke, J.W., 2002, Stewart Lake Waterfowl Management Area: Report on the 2001 Pre-and Post-Flood Sediment Samples, NIWQP, Bureau of Reclamation, Technical Service Center, 119 p.

Yahnke, J.W., 2001, Stewart Lake Waterfowl Management Area: Selenium in Stewart Lake Sediments During December 2000 with Comparisons to Previous Data, NIWQP, Bureau of Reclamation, Technical Service Center, 60 p.


Team
Steve Noyes, USBR(Team Leader)
David Naftz, USGS
Bruce Waddell, FWS


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