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WATER QUALITY AND STREAMFLOW GAINS AND LOSSES OF OSAGE AND PRAIRIE CREEKS, BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, JULY 2001

by Matthew W. Moix, C. Shane Barks, and Jaysson E. Funkhouser

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Abstract

Osage and Prairie Creeks in Benton County, Arkansas, were studied between July 24 and July 26, 2001, to describe the surface-water quality and the streamflow gains and losses along sections of each mainstem. The creeks are located in northwestern Arkansas. Water-quality samples were collected at 12 surface-water sites on the mainstem and at 6 points of inflow for Osage Creek, and at 9 surface-water sites on the mainstem and at 4 points of inflow for Prairie Creek.

Water-quality analyses were performed by Rogers Water Utilities and the Arkansas Water Resources Laboratory. Streamflow measurements were made along the mainstem of each creek and at points of inflow (prior to confluence with the mainstem) to identify gaining and losing reaches.

Water-quality data collected for Osage Creek indicated that dissolved ammonia concentrations were within the typical range of concentrations measured for streams in the Springfield and Salem Plateaus. Nitrite plus nitrate and total phosphorus concentrations were within the range of concentrations measured for several streams in the western part of the Springfield and Salem Plateaus. Total phosphorus concentrations measured on the mainstem of Osage Creek were higher downstream from the Rogers wastewater-treatment plant than upstream from the wastewater-treatment plant. Water-quality data collected for Prairie Creek indicated that dissolved ammonia concentrations measured for three mainstem sites were above the typical level of dissolved ammonia concentrations measured for streams in the Springfield and Salem Plateaus. High concentrations of dissolved ammonia measured at these sites might be indicative of sewage disposal or organic waste. Most concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate for Prairie Creek were above the range measured for some of the least-disturbed streams of the Ozark Highlands ecoregion but were within the range that is typical for several streams in the western part of the Springfield and Salem Plateaus. Total phosphorus concentrations were below or within the range that is typical for several streams in the western part of the Springfield and Salem Plateaus with elevated concentrations measured at two sties. Elevated concentrations of total phosphorus measured might be indicative of sewage or animal metabolic waste.

Identification of losing and gaining reaches indicates that interaction exists between the local shallow unconfined ground-water aquifer and surface flow in Osage and Prairie Creeks. Measured streamflow for the mainstem of Osage Creek ranged from 2.34 to 19.1 cubic feet per second during this study. Streamflow measured at the beginning of the study reach for Osage Creek was 2.34 cubic feet per second, and streamflow measured at the downstream end of the study reach was 15.7 cubic feet per second. One losing and two gaining reaches were identified on the mainstem of Osage Creek with a net gain of 3.58 cubic feet per second upstream from the wastewater-treatment plant. Measured streamflow for the mainstem of Prairie Creek ranged from 0 to 3.17 cubic feet per second during this study. Streamflow measured at the beginning of the study reach for Prairie Creek was 0.44 cubic feet per second, and the stream bed was dry at the downstream end of the study reach. Three losing and two gaining reaches were identified on the mainstem of Prairie Creek with a net loss of 3.06 cubic feet per second.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ILLUSTRATIONS - Figure(s)
  1. Map showing location of study areas
  2. Map showing location of Osage Creek sampling sites
  3. Map showing location of Prairie Creek sampling sites
  4. Photograph showing surface flow disappearing into the streambed of Prairie Creek
  5. Photograph showing collection of a water-quality sample by the hand-dipping method
  6. Photograph showing collection of streamflow measurement data by the current-meter method
  7. Discharge and concentrations of ammonia and nitrate along the mainstem of Osage Creek
  8. Discharge and concentrations of phosphorus and orthophosphorus along the mainstem of Osage Creek
  9. Discharge concentrations of chloride, fluoride, and sulfate along the mainstem of Osage Creek1410. Hourly dissolved-oxygen concentrations, 07194880 Osage Creek near Cave Springs, July 24-25, 2001.
  10. Hourly pH, 07194880 Osage Creek near Cave Springs, July 24-25, 2001
  11. Hourly water temperature, 07194880 Osage Creek near Cave Springs, July 24-25, 2001
  12. Discharge and concentrations of ammonia, ammonia plus organic nitrogen, and nitrate along the mainstem of Prairie Creek
  13. Discharge and concentrations of phosphorus and orthophosphorus along the mainstem of Prairie Creek
  14. Discharge and concentrations of chloride, fluoride, and sulfate along the mainstem of of Prairie Creek
  15. Hourly dissolved-oxygen concentrations at PCM-5 and 07049563 Prairie Creek near Rogers, July 25-26, 2001
  16. Hourly pH values at PCM-5 and 07049563 Prairie Creek near Rogers, July 25-26, 2001
  17. Hourly water temperature at PCM-5 and 07049563 Prairie Creek near Rogers, July 25-26, 2001.
  18. Streamflow at mainstem and inflow sample locations on Osage Creek, July 24, 2001
  19. Gains and losses in surface flow between mainstem sample locations on Osage Creek, Osage Creek, July 24, 2001
  20. Streamflow at mainstem and inflow sample locations on Prairie Creek, July 25, 2001
  21. Gains and losses in surface flow between mainstem sample locations on Prairie Creek, July 25, 2001
TABLES
  1. Description of surface-water sampling sites in the Osage Creek Basin
  2. Discharge and water-quality data for surface-water sites located in the Osage Creek Basin
  3. Description of surface-water sampling sites in the Prairie Creek Basin
  4. Discharge and water-quality data for surface-water sites located in the Prairie Creek Basin
  5. Streamflow balance on Osage Creek during study on July 24, 2001
  6. Streamflow balance on Prairie Creek during study on July 25, 2001



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