Surface-water-quality assessment of the Yakima River Basin, Washington: overview of major findings, 1987-91

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Title Surface-water-quality assessment of the Yakima River Basin, Washington: overview of major findings, 1987-91
Creator Morace, Jennifer L.; Fuhrer, Gregory J.; Rinella, Joesph F.; McKenzie, Stuart W.
Subject Watersheds; Rivers; Water quality; Agriculture; Irrigation; Pesticides; Water -- Dissolved oxygen; Trace elements; Pollutants
Spatial Coverage Columbia River; Washington
Description Surface-water-quality conditions were assessed in the Yakima River Basin, which drains 6,155 square miles of mostly forested, range, and agricultural land in Washington. The Yakima River Basin is one of the most intensively farmed and irrigated areas in the United States, and is often referred to as the "Nation's Fruitbowl." Natural and anthropogenic sources of contaminants and flow regulation control water-quality conditions throughout the basin. This report summarizes the spatial and temporal distribution, sources, and implications of the dissolved oxygen, water temperature, pH, suspended sediment, nutrient, organic compound (pesticide), trace element, fecal indicator bacteria, radionuclide, and aquatic ecology data collected during the 1987-91 water years. The Yakima River descends from a water surface altitude of 2,449 feet at the foot of Keechelus Dam to 340 feet at its mouth downstream from Horn Rapids Dam near Richland. The basin can be divided into three distinct river reaches on the basis of its physical characteristics. The upper reach, which drains the Kittitas Valley, has a high gradient, with an average streambed slope of 14 feet per mile (ft/mi) over the 74 miles from the foot of Keechelus Dam (river mile [RM] 214.5) to just upstream from Umtanum. The middle reach, which drains the Mid Valley, extends a distance of 33 miles from Umtanum (RM 140.4) to just upstream from Union Gap and also has a high gradient, with an average streambed slope of 11 ft/mi. The lower reach of the Yakima River drains the Lower Valley and has an average streambed slope of 7 ft/mi over the 107 miles from Union Gap (RM 107.2) to the mouth of the Yakima River. These reaches exhibited differences in water-quality conditions related to the differences in geologic sources of contaminants and land use. Compared with the rest of the basin, the Kittitas Valley and headwaters of the Naches River Subbasin had relatively low concentrations and loads of suspended sediment, nutrients, organic compounds, and fecal indicator bacteria. There were very few failures to meet the Washington State dissolved oxygen standard or exceedances of the water temperature and pH standards in this reach. In general, these areas are considered to be areas of less degraded water quality in the basin. The pre-Tertiary metamorphic and intrusive rocks of the Cle Elum and Teanaway River Subbasins, however, were found to be significant geologic sources of antimony, arsenic, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, selenium, and zinc. As a result, the arsenic, chromium, and nickel concentrations measured in the streambed sediment of the Kittitas Valley were 13 to 74 times higher than those measured in the Lower Valley.
Publisher U.S.Geological Survey
Date 1998
Type Text
Format application/pdf
Digitization Specifications pdf file copied from USGS website (http://or.water.usgs.gov/pubs). Uploaded into CONTENTdm version 3.7.
Identifier http://or.water.usgs.gov/pubs_dir/Abstracts/98-4113.html
Source Morace, Jennifer L., Fuhrer, Gregory J., Rinella, Joesph F., McKenzie, Stuart W., et al., 1998, Surface-water-quality assessment of the Yakima River Basin, Washington: overview of major findings, 1987-91, U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4113, 131 p.
Language eng
Rights Management Public Domain, Courtesy of the USGS
Holding Institution University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Daureen Nesdill; Kristin Willmore
ARK ark:/87278/s68914sf
Setname wwdl_er
Date Created 2004-11-04
Date Modified 2005-10-06
ID 1145734
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s68914sf
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