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Water Quality Trends in the Entiat River Subbasin: 2007-2008
Andy Bookter (au)
Production of high-quality water is a vitally important ecosystem service in the largely semiarid interior Columbia River basin (ICRB). Communities, tribal governments, and various agencies are concerned about maintenance of this water supply for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational, and ecosystem uses. Water quantity and quality are widely recognized as important components of habitat for depleted salmonid populations in the ICRB where a large, multiagency effort is underway to restore salmon, trout, and char listed as threatened orendangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. A particularly active program of salmonid restoration is ongoing in the Entiat River subbasin, part of the ICRB that drains a portion of the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains in central Washington state. In the Entiat River, monitoring of compliance with the 1977 federal Clean Water Act has identified water temperature and especially pH as water quality parameters of concern. For these reasons, agencies and othersconcerned with production of high-quality water and restoration of listed salmonids require meaningful and efficient approaches to water quality monitoring. During spring 2007, the authors began testing a pilot water quality monitoring strategy using multiparameter data-logging instruments. These were deployed at four locationsin the Entiat River subbasin to measure fundamental water quality parameters (pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and specific conductivity). In 2007 and 2008, the highest pH values occurred during the low-flow period from midsummer through the following midspring, then dropped sharply during the annual snowmelt runoff period from late spring through early summer. Water temperature began rapidlyincreasing during the receding limb of the annual snowmelt hydrograph. Highest mean-monthly temperatures occurred in July and August, and instantaneous maxima occurred during the period July–September. Dissolved oxygen reached its lowest levels during the period of highest water temperature in July–September. Specific conductivity remained very low at all sites throughout the year. Figures.
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