Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
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Klamath River Water Quality Monitoring - Reports

Water quality data collected by the FWS and cooperators since 2001 are being summarized into technical work products with the assistance of Dr. George Ward and Dr. Neal Armstrong of the Univ. of Texas, Austin.  A sequential approach to completing these summaries and analytical work products are outlined below. 



Task 1: Compilation and Analysis of Hydrological Data

Evaluation and interpretation of DataSonde measurements and grab-sample nutrient information required knowledge of the attending hydrological conditions of the river. To this end, hydrologic data were acquired, compiled and re-formatted to support the various analyses of the following work tasks. The primary source of data was gauged river flows obtained and archived by U.S. Geological Survey. Published and provisional records of the USGS were used and deemed adequate. Two separate analyses were completed: (1) long-term (period-of-record) statistics as a standard of comparison for recent hydrological conditions; (2) detailed characterization of river flows and stage for the periods of analysis of grab samples and DataSonde measurements.


Task 2: Evaluation of Nutrient Loading Data

Existing sources of nutrient loading data such as TMDL reports and similar studies were reviewed for their applicability and usability. As needed, point source loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, TSS, TDS, TOC, and chlorophyll/pheophytin were estimated from self-reporting flow and water quality data as possible. Where effluent concentrations were lacking, typical effluent concentrations (as defined by EPA according to the nature of the discharger) were used. Absent effluent flow and concentration data, loads were based on per capita waste load data and wastewater treatment methods used. Non-point sources were estimated using tributary flow and nutrient concentration data, and absent such data other methods were employed to provide “first cut” loading estimates. Main-stem loadings were estimated using existing flow and concentration data as possible, and loading consistency along the mainstem was examined using the main-stem loads and point and non-point source loads. Nutrient loading estimates were compiled into digital formats suitable for analysis. Statistical and graphic evaluations of nutrient loading data were conducted to identify spatial and temporal trends and inter- and intra seasonal and annual variations.


Task 3: Coherence of Nutrient Loads and Grab-Sample Nutrient Data

The purpose of this task was to determine the relation between in-stream concentrations of nutrients (and related parameters) and the identified point and non-point loads of nutrients, a relationship that depends upon river flow conditions. Grab sample data were summarized and, coupled with stream flows, compared to the estimates of nutrient loads developed in the previous task, for each time period and site for which AFWO grab sample data were available. (Note: grab sample data from other sources may be included in portions of the evaluations, for cross-comparison and to better fill the data record where necessary.) Concentrations in excess of those estimated by river dilution of known loads can be indicative of either underestimates (or incomplete identification) of loads or the operation of an additional nutrient source, such as re-suspension from bed sediments. Concentrations substantially lower than those estimated from known loads can be diagnostic of high rates of nutrient assimilation. Either provides insights into the nutrient budget of the river.


Task 4-5: Correction, Finalization and Q/A Evaluation of Datasonde Data Sets and Display and Analysis of Datasonde Measurements

Datasonde holdings of the AFWO were processed to represent final, corrected values, suitable for detailed analysis. This entailed assessing the quality-control measures adopted by the AFWO and adjusting the raw data to account for bias (resulting from electronic aging and biofouling) where appropriate, so that the final datasets represent the best available data. AFWO staff worked collaboratively with the contractors to implement these corrections to arrive at the most credible datasets. Statistical and graphic evaluations of water temperature, specific conductance, pH, and dissolved oxygen data were conducted to identify spatial and temporal trends and inter- and intra-annual variations.

  • Sonde Correction Templates and Memo’s are available but too large to post.  Please use the  AFWO Request Form to request specific correction templates and memo’s.

Task 6: Photosynthesis and Primary Production Analyses

Diurnal cycles of dissolved oxygen, temperature are used to develop an index of primary productivity (IOPP) and gross production and community respiration. IOPP are developed for all sites during the time period of 2001 to 2005. Inter- and intra-annual and spatial comparisons of IOPP are made and graphically displayed. The computed gross photosynthesis will be integrated with grab-sample measurements of nutrients and chlorophyll.


Task 7: Final Report

A comprehensive final report (pending), will be prepared combining results of tasks 1-6. Specific items likely to be included in the report follow:


I. Findings - Assessments of grab sample and datasonde data

a. Summary results of the nutrient sample data, particularly the space-time variation of measured concentrations.

b. The relations of nutrient sample measurements to river flow conditions, loading rates and climatological conditions.

c. Summary of AFWO datasonde holdings, including statistical evaluations and graphic displays of the key electrometric parameters, and comparison to the Basin Plan Objectives of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

d. Summary of diurnal cycles of dissolved oxygen and the determination of IOPP, gross production and community respiration, and their space-time variations.

 II. Conclusions -

a. Overall effectiveness of the existing monitoring program (frequency of sampling, monitoring protocols, study sites, suites of analytes, reporting limits etc)

b. Status of the overall river health (derive conclusions about spatial and inter- and intra-annual variations in environmental conditions).

c. Develop recommendations regarding the continuance of the water quality monitoring program for short term and long term needs: what should be done and why.

 III. Recommendations -

a. Should the WQ monitoring continue and at what level? Why?

b. Recommendations to increase cost efficiencies and improving data quality and/or coverage

c. Other studies that are warranted? Why?

d. Identify main sources of water quality impairments

e. Develop recommendations for potential solutions to water quality impairments. Why?

f. Others (TBD)


Last updated: April 16, 2015