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Texas Water Science Center

Compilation of Historical Water-Quality Data for Selected Springs in Texas, by Ecoregion

By Franklin T. Heitmuller and Iona P. Williams

U.S. Geological Survey
Data Series 230

In cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


Abstract

Springs are important hydrologic features in Texas. A database of about 2,000 historically documented springs and available spring-flow measurements previously has been compiled and published, but water-quality data remain scattered in published sources. This report by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, documents the compilation of data for 232 springs in Texas on the basis of a set of criteria and the development of a water-quality database for the selected springs. The selection of springs for compilation of historical water-quality data in Texas was made using existing digital and hard-copy data, responses to mailed surveys, selection criteria established by various stakeholders, geographic information systems, and digital database queries. Most springs were selected by computing the highest mean spring flows for each Texas level III ecoregion. A brief assessment of the water-quality data for springs in Texas shows that few data are available in the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains, High Plains, East Central Texas Plains, Western Gulf Coastal Plain, and South Central Plains ecoregions. Water-quality data are more abundant for the Chihuahuan Deserts, Edwards Plateau, and Texas Blackland Prairies ecoregions. Selected constituent concentrations in Texas springs, including silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, strontium, sulfate, chloride, fluoride, nitrate (nitrogen), dissolved solids, and hardness (as calcium carbonate) are comparatively high in the Chihuahuan Deserts, Southwestern Tablelands, Central Great Plains, and Cross Timbers ecoregions, mostly as a result of subsurface geology. Comparatively low concentrations of selected constituents in Texas springs are associated with the Arizona/New Mexico Mountains, Southern Texas Plains, East Central Texas Plains, and South Central Plains ecoregions.

Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Review of Existing Data

Acknowledgments

Procedures for Data Compilation

Spring and Spring-Flow Database

Spring Categorized by Ecoregions

Spring Survey for Selected Stakeholders in Texas

Application of Criteria to Selected Springs for Water-Quality Database

Spring Water-Quality Database

Historical Water-Quality Data for Selected Springs, by Ecoregion

Arizona/New Mexico Mountains

Chihuahuan Deserts

High Plains

Southwestern Tablelands

Central Great Plains

Cross Timbers

Edwards Plateau

Southern Texas Plains

Texas Blackland Prairies

East Central Texas Plains

Western Gulf Coastal Plain

South Central Plains

Summary

References

Database of Selected Springs in Texas (online version only) zipped files (1.94 MB)

Figures

1.   Map showing locations of selected springs in Texas
2.   Excerpt of survey mailed to numerous stakeholders across Texas
3–6.   Maps showing:
  3.   Springs selected for inclusion in the water-quality database of springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  4.   Major aquifers in Texas and springs selected for inclusion in the water-quality database of springs in Texas
  5.   Minor aquifers in Texas and springs selected for inclusion in the water-quality database of springs in Texas
  6.   River basins in Texas and springs selected for inclusion in the water-quality database of springs in Texas
7.   Screen capture of data-entry interface for water-quality database of springs in Texas
8–25.   Maps showing:
  8.   Spatial distribution of 11,675 water-quality values for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  9.   Range of median silica concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  10.   Range of median calcium concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  11.   Range of median magnesium concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  12.   Range of median sodium concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  13.   Range of median potassium concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  14.   Range of median strontium concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  15.   Range of median bicarbonate concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  16.   Range of median sulfate concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  17.   Range of median chloride concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  18.   Range of median fluoride concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  19.   Range of median nitrate nitrogen concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  20.   Range of median pH for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  21.   Range of median dissolved solids concentrations for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  22.   Range of median alkalinity for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  23.   Range of median hardness for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  24.   Range of median specific conductance for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
  25.   Range of median temperature for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion

Tables

1.   Number and percentage of total springs in database for Texas level III ecoregions
2.   Largest springs in each Texas level III ecoregion on basis of mean spring flow for entire period of record
3.   Largest springs in Texas on basis of mean spring flow for entire period of record
4.   Texas springs selected for water-quality and spring-flow database
5.   Number of values used to compute mean, median, and standard deviation of selected water-quality constituents and properties for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
6.   Water-quality parameter codes and description of selected constituents and properties used in statistical summaries and maps for selected springs in Texas
7.   Mean, median, and standard deviation values of selected water-quality constituents and properties for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
8.   Minimum and maximum values of selected water-quality constituents and properties for selected springs in Texas, by ecoregion
9.   Water-quality standards of selected constituents and properties

This document is available in Portable Document Format (PDF):  (11.5 MB)

Zipped database files available online only (1.94 MB)


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