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South Dakota Water Science Center

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Study Plan for Urban Stream Indicator Sites of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Thomas J. Lopes and Curtis V. Price

U.S. Geological Survey, 1608 Mountain View Rd., Rapid City, SD 57702
Phone (605) 355-4560 ext. 240, Telecopier (605) 355-4523,

Urban Indicator Sites are one component of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The objectives of monitoring at the Urban Indicator Sites are to: (1) characterize stream quality from drainage basins with predominantly residential and commercial land use, and (2) determine which selected natural and human factors most strongly affect stream quality.

Urban Indicator Sites will be distributed across the United States in settings with statistically different climate and in metropolitan areas that have a population of 250,000 or more. Multiple sites in the same climatic setting will have a range in population density. Ideally, Urban Indicator Sites will monitor drainage basins that have only residential and commercial land use, are 50 square kilometers or larger, are in the same physiographic setting as other Indictor Sites, have sustained flow, and overlap other NAWQA study components. Ideal drainage basins will not have industrial or agricultural land use and will not have point-source-contamination discharges. Stream quality will be characterized by collecting and analyzing samples of streamflow, bed sediment, and tissue of aquatic organisms for selected constituents. Factors affecting stream quality will be determined by statistical analysis on ancillary data associated with Urban Indicator Sites and stream-quality samples.


1997,U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report, OFR 97-25, 15 p.

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