Water Quality - Water Quality, Illinois State Water Survey

Water Quality

Water Quality - Projects

See projects below for contact information

Lakes
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Illinois Clean Lakes Program Diagnostic Study of Lake Vermilion in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Monitoring
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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Geomorphic Monitoring for the Big Creek Watershed– Cache River Basin
 - Development of Streams Classification System for Nutrient Criteria in Illinois
 - Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek Watersheds, Coles and Cumberland Counties, Illinois
 - Hydrologic, Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring for the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program
 - Rapid Solar Phototransformation of Nutrients in Natural Waters
 - Sediment & Water Quality Monitoring in the Vermilion River & Little Vermilion River Watersheds
 - Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
 - Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed
 - Watershed Monitoring in Support of Water Quality-Strategic Research Initiative Collection Needs
Nutrients
 - Development of a Stream/River Classification System for Nutrient Criteria in Illinois
 - Hydrologic, Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring for the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program
 - Rapid Solar Phototransformation of Nutrients in Natural Waters
 - Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
 - Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed
 - Sorption Properties of Oxide Powders and Single Crystals to Elevated Temperatures
 - The Impact of Sediments on the Potential Bioavailability of Phosphorus in Illinois Streams
Rehabilitation/Restoration
 - Development of Low-Cost Treatment Options for Arsenic Removal in Water Treatment Facilities
 - Demonstration of Low-Cost Arsenic Removal from a Variety of Illinois Drinking Water Sources
Rivers and Streams
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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River
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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River - Phase II
 - Illinois River Sediment Budget Update
Sedimentation
 - An Assessment of Groundwater Conditions and Sediment Transport Model Development at the Emiquon Project Area
 - Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek Watersheds, Coles and Cumberland Counties, Illinois
 - Illinois River Sediment Budget Update
 - Investigation of Metal and Organic Contaminant Distributions and Sedimentation Rates in Backwater Lakes along the Illinois River
 - Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
 - Sediment & Water Quality Monitoring in the Vermilion River & Little Vermilion River Watersheds
 - Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed
Watersheds
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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River
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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River - Phase II
 - Sediment and Nutrient Monitoring at Selected Watersheds within the Illinois River Watershed for Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
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Watershed Modeling to Evaluate Water Quality at Intakes of Small Drinking Water System

An Assessment Of Groundwater Conditions And Sediment Transport Model Development At The Emiquon Project Area

Principal Investigator: M. Demissie

Funded by The Nature Conservancy of Illinois, 2003

ABSTRACT: This project is essentially two separate projects, a groundwater assessment project and a sediment transport modeling project, both within the Emiquon area just west of Havana along the Illinois River. The Nature Conservancy of Illinois has purchased a large tract along the Illinois floodplain with the intent of restoring pre-development ecological processes and habitat along the river. The groundwater project will initiate hydrologic data collection efforts in the Emiquon area to assess how deep and how long the area will be flooded once dewatering of the area is suspended. This will involve construction of observation wells and staff gages, measurement of groundwater and surface water levels, mapping of the water table, and an analysis of a water budget for the area. The principal objective of the sediment transport modeling project is to develop a two-dimensional sediment transport model for the Illinois River in the Emiquon area that simulates sediment transport in and out of the Emiquon area for different Emiquon/Illinois River reconnection alternatives.

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Development of Streams Classification System for Nutrient Criteria in Illinois

Principal Investigator: M. Markus

Project Staff: Amy Russell

Funded by USEPA ,Region 5, 2003-2005

ABSTRACT: This study provides a scientific basis for developing a stream classification system based on their susceptibility to algal growth. Those streams having high algal biomass as a result of low nutrient concentration are considered susceptible to algal growth. Conversely, streams having low algal biomass and high nutrient concentration are considered less susceptible to algal growth. Scientists have found that a stream’s response to nutrient enrichment depends on various habitat factors such as water velocity, canopy cover along the streambank, and stream width/depth. Habitat conditions may differ considerably from one reach to another and also from season to season. A two-stage model approach was used to calculate monthly susceptibility values for two datasets for Illinois. Those data were used to estimate the nonlinear regression model (f1) for calculating susceptibility based on the habitat factors. Validation entailed comparing predicted susceptibility with “observed” susceptibility calculated as a residual from the nutrients-algal biomass (chlorophyll a) nonlinear regression model (f2). Various combinations of linear or squared inputs were examined for both f1 and f2 models, and those models giving the best-fit statistics were identified. Eventually, the classification system will be used to develop site-specific nutrient standards based on stream tolerance to nutrients. It also can be used to prioritize streams and rivers for the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and for watershed management purposes.

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Development of Low-Cost Treatment Options for Arsenic Removal in Water Treatment Facilities

Principal Investigator: Gary R. Peyton and Thomas R. Holm

Project Staff: John Shim, Graduate Student, Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois

Funded by Midwest Technology Assistance Center, University of Illinois, 2003-2005

ABSTRACT: Naturally-occurring arsenic in groundwater used as a drinking water source exceeds the proposed maximum contaminant level of 10 g/L in some areas. The objective of this project is to develop a low-cost water treatment process that will remove arsenic in order to meet the proposed requirement, using the existing iron removal capability of a drinking water plant and the iron that is already present in the water. Low doses of hydrogen peroxide are used to react with ferrous iron in the groundwater to produce a strong oxidizing agent that is capable of oxidizing As(III) to a more-sorbable, less-toxic form, As(V), which absorbs to the iron precipitate and is removed along with the iron.

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Demonstration of Low-Cost Arsenic Removal from a Variety of Illinois Drinking Water Sources

Principal Investigator: Gary R. Peyton and Thomas R. Holm

Funded by Midwest Technology Assistance Center, University of Illinois, 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: A water treatment process has been developed which successfully removes arsenic from the ground water used as a drinking water supply for Danvers, Illinois, using a very low hydrogen peroxide dose and a low iron dose. The objective of this project is to determine the general applicability/adaptability of this process to other arsenic-containing Illinois drinking water supplies, quantitatively determine the effect of water composition on the process efficiency and required doses of the additives, and provide design guidelines for new treatment plants and retrofit of existing plants.

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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River

Principal Investigator: S. McConkey, M. Machesky, and V. Knapp

Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, 4/1/2002 – 6/30/2003

ABSTRACT: In consultation with the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has proposed a multi-phase water quality study of the Fox River watershed from Stratton Dam to the Illinois River confluence. The ultimate objective of the full study is to identify significant watershed issues and implement a watershed plan that includes data collection, model development, and monitoring. Research findings will provide guidance for public and private planners and decision-makers. At the request of the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has provided funding for ISWS to conduct phase one of the study, which entails compilation and review of relevant information to identify significant water quality concerns, available data, and data gaps. A database of water quality and attendant data will be compiled to serve as a foundation for modeling, analysis, and comparative study. Throughout the project, ISWS staff will meet with the Fox River Study Group and provide project updates for review and comment.

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Fox River Watershed Investigation, Stratton Dam to the Illinois River - Phase II

Principal Investigators: S. McConkey, L. Lin, A. Bartosova, J. Singh

Funded by Fox River Study Group, 11/1/2003 – 2/28/2006

ABSTRACT: In consultation with the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has proposed a multi-phase water quality study of the Fox River watershed from Stratton Dam to the Illinois River confluence. The ultimate objective of the full study is to identify significant watershed issues and implement a watershed plan that includes data collection, model development, and monitoring. At the request of the Fox River Study Group, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency provided funding for ISWS to conduct phase one of the study which is now complete. The full report Fox River Watershed Investigation – Stratton Dam to the Illinois River: Water Quality Issues and Data Report to the Fox River Study Group, Inc., is posted at the web site http://ilrdss.isws.illinois.edu/fox. The Fox River Study Group has continued supporting the project through local funds and the current work includes development of data sets for the water quality models and customizing the model framework to meet study needs.

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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek Watersheds, Coles and Cumberland Counties, Illinois

Principal Investigator: L. Keefer

Project Staff: S. Curtis, K. Rennels, B. Rios, A. Russell, and J. Slowikowski

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 2000-2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation 2000 Embarras River Ecosystem Partnership is a group of public and private members interested in improving the ecosystem in the Embarras River watershed. To better understand the cumulative impacts of future best management practices implemented in the watershed, the partnership wanted to establish baseline hydrologic, sediment, and water quality data. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) received a grant through the Embarras River Ecosystem Partnership for Conservation 2000 Ecosystem Program funds to conduct a two-year monitoring study of the two watersheds. The Hurricane and Kickapoo Creek watersheds lie in three counties in southeastern Illinois. The total drainage area of Hurricane Creek and Kickapoo Creek at their confluences with the Embarras River are 56 and 101 square miles, respectively. Approximately 65 percent of the watersheds for both creeks are in row crop agricultural production with approximately 25 percent in grassland/woodlands use. The project established three streamgaging stations and collected suspended sediment and nitrate-nitrogen samples for a two-year study period (2000-2002) and atrazine samples during the second year only.

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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Nutrient Monitoring for the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer and M. Demissie

Project Staff: R. Allgire, S. Curtis, B. Rios, A. Russell, and J. Slowikowski

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1999-2003

ABSTRACT: Hydrology, sediment, and nutrients were monitored in watersheds identified by the Interagency Pilot Watershed Program Task Force for the purpose of evaluating cumulative effects of best management practices (BMPs) implemented by several state and federal agency programs. These monitoring efforts, in collaboration with other researchers, will determine whether intensively applied BMPs affect water quality and wildlife habitat. Monitoring programs were established in the Big Creek watershed (Cache River), Hurricane/Kickapoo Creeks watershed (Embarras River) and Sugar Creek watershed (Kaskaskia) to collect sediment and nutrient data before and during the project's implementation phase.

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Illinois Clean Lakes Program Diagnostic Study Of Lake Vermilion In Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois

Principal Investigator: B. Bogner

Funded by Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Consumers Illinois Water Company until 12/31/2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) will assist the Consumers Illinois Water Company in conducting an Illinois Clean Lakes Program Phase I diagnostic study of Lake Vermilion, the sole source of water supply for the city of Danville. The project entails water quality, biological, and hydrologic monitoring and analyses for a one-year period and a watershed evaluation for the lake. The ISWS will conduct storm event monitoring and the diagnostic portion of the study. This proposal does not include the feasibility and recommendation portion of the Clean Lakes Study.

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Illinois River Sediment Budget Update

Principal Investigator: N. Bhowmik

Funded by US Army Corps of Engineers until 11/30/2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois State Water Survey prepared Erosion and Sedimentation in the Illinois River Basin: Final Report (Contract Report 519) in 1992. An approximate sediment budget was developed based on data collected up to 1990 for that report. This project will include all sediment data collected since 1990 and update the sediment budget for the Illinois River basin. Determination of a sediment budget includes calculating and estimating sediment yields from all tributary streams that drain into the Illinois River and then comparing yields with sediment outflow from the Illinois River to the Mississippi River.

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Investigation of Metal and Organic Contaminant Distributions and Sedimentation Rates in Backwater Lakes along the Illinois River

Principal Investigator: J. Slowikowski

Funded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1/1/2002 – 3/31/2003

ABSTRACT: Illinois River sediments contain an unknown distribution of metals and organic contaminants. Dredging is being proposed as a means to restore habitats and recreational opportunities to areas of the Illinois River. Sediments of areas to be dredged will require better characterization. This project intends to characterize these sediments, information that can be used to help make decisions regarding disposal of dredged materials. Using a Rossfelder vibrocoring system, at least ten cores will be collected from selected areas of Peoria Pool above Chillicothe, LaGrange Pool, and Alton Pool. Collected cores will be extruded and split, with one half used for 10 centimeter sub-samples for organic carbon, metal analysis and cesium-137 dating, and the other half for organic analytes and various agronomic and physical parameters. Work proposed will be a joint effort between the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois State Geological Survey.

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Rapid Solar Phototransformation of Nutrients in Natural Waters

Principal Investigators: Gary R. Peyton

Project Staff: Smita Sivakumar, Graduate Student, Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois

Funded by Illinois Water Resources Center, University of Illinois 2003-2006

ABSTRACT: Since nutrients in surface waters are being scrutinized as primary factors in water quality issues, quantification of the sources for various nutrients is of interest to both modelers and administrators. It has been shown that ammonia can be generated upon sunlight irradiation of surface waters. The objectives of this project are to: 1) measure the photogeneration rates of ammonia and other nitrogen species in a number of Illinois waters and relate that to water composition, 2) elucidate the important pathways for these processes, and 3) derive a mathematical model of these processes that could aid best management practices and be of use to modelers in predicting important source terms.

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Sediment and Water Quality Monitoring for the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River Watersheds

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer and B. Bogner

Project Staff: S. Curtis and K. Rennels

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 1999-2002

ABSTRACT: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation 2000 Vermilion River Ecosystem Partnership is a group of public and private members interested in improving the ecosystem in the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds. To better understand the cumulative impacts of future best management practices (BMPs) implemented in the watersheds, the partnership wanted to establish a 2-year baseline hydrologic and water quality dataset. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) conducted a two-year watershed monitoring study of the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds. The Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River watersheds lie in seven counties in east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana in the Wabash River Basin. The drainage areas of the Vermilion River and Little Vermilion River at their confluences with the Wabash River are 1,434 and 244 square miles, respectively. Lake Vermilion, a 660-acre impounded reservoir located on the North Fork Vermilion River, is the main municipal drinking water supply for the City of Danville, Illinois. The Little Vermilion River is the main tributary for the 63-acre Georgetown Reservoir, the municipal drinking water supply for the community of Georgetown, Illinois. Approximately 88 percent of the watersheds for both rivers are in agricultural production with approximately 5 percent in forest/woodlands and wetlands. The ISWS established a streamgaging station on the Little Vermilion River near Sidell and monitored the hydrology, sediment, and nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate-N) there and at three U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging sites in the Vermilion River watershed (Middle Fork Vermilion River above Oakwood, North Fork Vermilion River near Bismarck, and Vermilion River near Danville). Sampling at the Little Vermilion River station for three pesticides (atrazine, alachlor, and metolachlor) was done on a weekly basis from June to October 2002.

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Sediment And Nutrient Monitoring At Selected Watersheds Within The Illinois River Watershed For Evaluating The Effectiveness Of The Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Principal Investigators: M. Demissie and L. Keefer

Field and Data Processing: B. Rios, A. Russell, J. Slowikowski, T. Snider and K. Stevenson

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Management Section, 11/30/1998 – 6/30/2007

ABSTRACT: This project is operating a sediment and nutrient monitoring program within the Illinois River basin that can produce sufficient data to evaluate the results from the implementation of the Illinois River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The Illinois River CREP is a result of an agreement between the State of Illinois and the United States Department of Agriculture to implement conservation practices in the Illinois River watershed over a 15-year period to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife.

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Watershed Modeling to Evaluate Water Quality at Intakes of Small Drinking Water System

Principal Investigators: D. Borah and E. Krug

Field and Data Processing: M. Bera

Funded by Midwest Technology Assistance Center, 3/2/2004 – 3/25/2005

ABSTRACT: The overall goal is to develop models as source-water protection assessment tools for operators of small Midwestern surface water supply systems and test the modeling system on an Illinois watershed while assessing and evaluating water quantities and qualities at intakes of all the small public water supplies within the watershed. Based on ongoing research of the P.I.s, the watershed scale continuous model SWAT is selected for the modeling system. It will be expanded with a storm event component. The 3,200 square mile Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois is chosen for its watershed attributes and its density of small public water supplies. The modeling system will be also used to evaluate alternative watershed management scenarios in protecting or improving water quantities and qualities at the intakes.

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Watershed Monitoring for the Lake Decatur Watershed

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer, M. Demissie, and E. Bauer

Project Staff: Mary Richardson and Marguerite Tan

Funded by the City of Decatur, Illinois, 1993-Present

ABSTRACT: Lake Decatur is the water supply reservoir for the City of Decatur. The reservoir was created in 1922 by impounding the flow of the Sangamon River in east-central Illinois, has a surface area of 4.4 square miles, and maximum storage capacity of 28,000 acre-feet (9,125 million gallons). Total water withdrawal from the Lake currently averages 39 million gallons per day for a population of 86,705. The drainage area of the Sangamon River upstream of the Lake Decatur dam is 925 square miles. The watershed includes portions of seven counties in east-central Illinois and agriculture is the predominant land use in the watershed, comprising over 80 percent of the land area. Lake Decatur has high concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen (nitrate-N) and has been periodically exceeding the Safe Drinking Water Act standard of 10 milligrams per liter since 1979. This created a serious situation for the drinking water supply of the City of Decatur, since nitrate-N cannot be removed from finished drinking water through regular water purification processes. Since 1993, the Illinois State Water Survey has received grants from the City of Decatur to monitor the Lake Decatur watershed for trends in nitrate-N concentrations and loads to identify any significant changes in the watershed. The City of Decatur constructed an ion exchange facility to remove nitrate from the drinking water which came on-line in June 2002. The ISWS continues to monitor for the purpose of collecting reliable hydrologic and water quality data throughout the watershed for use by city planners to efficiently operate the nitrate removal facility and by resource managers to develop watershed management alternatives based on scientific data.

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Watershed Monitoring in Support of Water Quality-Strategic Research Initiative Collection Needs

Principal Investigator: L. Keefer

Project Staff: E. Bauer, K. Rennels, R. Allgire

Funded by Council for Food and Agricultural Research (C-FAR), 2000-2003

ABSTRACT: The objective of this project was to collect intensive and reliable stream data for quantitative analyses and modeling research to address watershed mass balance issues. This project also enhanced and leveraged data collection efforts by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the City of Decatur. The data collected from these sites complemented studies conducted by the Mass Balance Team of the Water Quality-SRI by providing the surface water data component of a nutrient mass balance study. The streamflow, sediment, and nutrient data were used by several C-FAR WQ-SRI team researchers for streamgaging stations in two watersheds in Illinois: Upper Sangamon River (Big Ditch, Camp Creek, and Sangamon River at Monticello) and Cache River (Big Creek). The data collection began in March 2000 and ended June 2003, except for Camp and Big Creeks which ended June 2002.

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Hydrologic, Sediment, and Geomorphic Monitoring for the Big Creek Watershed–Cache River Basin

Principal Investigators: L. Keefer

Project Staff: R. Allgire, E. Bauer, M. Richardson

Funded by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, C2000 Ecosystem Program, 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: Big Creek is one of two tributaries (Big Creek and Cypress Creek) which flow into sensitive wetland areas in the Cache River Valley. The main concern is the amount of sediment deposited in the vicinity of Buttonland Swamp which has several sensitive ecosystems managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): Cache River State Natural Area and Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Based on a previous ISWS study, Big Creek was identified as contributing the highest tributary sediment load to the Cache River-Buttonland Swamp wetland area. The Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) has been monitoring and studying the hydrology and sediment transport of the Cache River Basin and its tributaries since 1986. Much of this data have been used in modeling the hydrology of the Big Creek watershed and its influence on the hydraulics in the Lower Cache River by the ISWS to assist in watershed management efforts to reduce runoff, thereby erosion, in the Big Creek watershed. Based on the ISWS monitoring and modeling efforts, IDNR C2000 Ecosystem Program funds have targeted the Big Creek channel for stream restoration efforts. These funds have also initiated the installation of detention ponds throughout the Big Creek watershed to reduce peak runoff, which contributes to the reduction of upland and stream channel erosion. The dataset compiled by the ISWS before these practices were installed lays the groundwork for post project evaluation. The ISWS is continuing the hydrologic, sediment, and geomorphic monitoring during and after all these practices are installed and will be key for the future evaluation of these projects and the usefulness of these approaches in other sensitive watersheds around the state.

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Sorption Properties of Oxide Powders and Single Crystals to Elevated Temperatures

Principal Investigators: Michael L. Machesky

Funded by UT-Batelle, LLC, 2000-2006

ABSTRACT: The primary focus of this multi-disciplinary research is to develop a truly fundamental molecular-level understanding of the interface between metal oxides and aqueous solutions for a few select solid phases in which the properties of the electrical double layer (EDL) as a function of temperature, solution chemistry, and crystal structure and morphology are probed in detail with a variety of microscopic and macroscopic experimental and computational techniques.

FINDINGS TO DATE: The EDL properties of the rutile (TiO2)-water interface have received the most attention to date. Integrative macroscopic and microscopic experimental and modeling approaches reveal that cations bind to this surface in specific, inner-sphere fashion. Moreover, this binding is enhanced as temperature increases, and Stern-based, multisite surface complexation models can successfully incorporate the observed cation binding geometries, as well as closely reproduce the observed binding enhancement with increasing temperature.

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The Impact of Sediments on the Potential Bioavailability of Phosphorus in Illinois Streams

Principal Investigators: Michael L. Machesky and James A. Slowikowski

Project Staff: Josh Stevens

Funded by Illinois Council of Food and Agricultural Research (CFAR), 2004-2006

ABSTRACT: The impacts of suspended and bed sediments on the potential bioavailability of phosphorus (P) are investigated. Research efforts are being conducted within the Spoon River Watershed of west-central Illinois. Study efforts include intensive storm and low flow sampling of suspended and bed sediments to determine which forms of phosphorus are present and in what amounts and what fraction of this total P is bioavailable. While these intensive data are being collected, important water quality parameters such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll a are being monitored, through the use of continuous water quality monitoring instrumentation. A principal outcome of this research will be to more clearly define the relationship between eutrophication and total P by determining what fraction of total P is potentially bioavailable, and how bioavailability varies with flow, stream order within a watershed, and between suspended and bed sediments.

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