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USGS Monitoring Data

In 1996, the U.S. Geological Survey began a water-quality study of the Cheney Reservoir watershed in participation with the city of Wichita and the Bureau of Reclamation. The objectives of the study were to: (1) describe differences in concentrations and transport of selected water-quality constituents within the Cheney Reservoir watershed; (2) evaluate, specifically, the annual transport of selected water-quality constituents into and out of Cheney Reservoir; and (3) evaluate long-term changes in the chemical quality of reservoir sediment to serve as a surrogate for historical changes in water quality.

The study consisted of two general phases. Phase I components included a short-term, preliminary evaluation of the watershed to document spatial variability in water-quality constituents and to assist in selection of long-term monitoring sites. Thirty-four sampling sites were monitored during Phase I, which was conducted from June through September 1996. These sites were sampled during periods of sustained low flow, which is streamflow originating primarily as springflow, ground-water seepage, irrigation return flow, or as point-source discharges such as from wastewater treatment plants.

Results of the Phase I evaluation identified dissolved solids and nutrients as potential water-quality concerns during low flow and led to the establishment of six long-term sampling sites during Phase II. Phase II consisted of a 3-year data-collection effort to quantify water-quality constituent concentrations and loading characteristics in selected subbasins within the watershed and into and out of Cheney Reservoir. Phase II included an evaluation of both low-flow and runoff periods. Water and sediment samples were collected from several locations within the reservoir.

Data from this study supports the initial concerns of the project but it also provides a clearer picture of the sources and transport of these pollutants within the watershed. Reports from the USGS studies are available at their web site, http://ks.water.usgs.gov.

Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc.
18 East 7th Street - South Hutchinson, Kansas 67505
Phone: 620-669-8161 ext. 4
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