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Technical Service Center
Environmental Applications and Research Group

Water Quality Monitoring & Improvement Studies

Cow grazing by mountain lakeWater quality in Reclamation projects directly impacts conditions for fisheries and the aquatic ecosystem, drinking and municipal water supplies, and irrigation water for agriculture. New and improved field techniques and laboratory methods to identify, evaluate, and enhance water quality are continually being tested and developed. Using these techniques in conjunction with other environmental data and water project operational information, corrective actions can be recommended and improvements to water quality can be implemented. Projects are presently underway in reservoir limnology, stream ecology, mine drainage pollution studies, rapid toxicity testing, and field bioassessment of water quality using aquatic organisms. More specific examples of some of the project activities are:

  1. Sensitivity evaluations of rapid toxicity testing methodologies to pure chemicals in standard waters and to complex effluents;
  2. Water quality assessment of hyporheic (subsurface) zones in the upper Arkansas River, Colorado, to monitor macroinvertebrate recovery associated with cleanup efforts;
  3. The use of aquatic bryophytes (aquatic mosses) to identify sources and temporal variability in water quality (please see: Monitoring of Heavy Metal Concentrations in the Arkansas River using Transplanted Aquatic Bryophytes) below Reclamation reservoirs; and
  4. Evaluation of leaf pack decomposition as a method for measuring water quality impacts.
information iconIf you would like more information on our water quality programs please contact us at (303) 445-2178, or send e-mail to Chris Holdren at GHoldren@usbr.gov.