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Data Series 802

Prepared in cooperation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Water Quality, Sediment Characteristics, Aquatic Habitat, Geomorphology, and Mussel Population Status of the Clinch River, Virginia and Tennessee, 2009–2011

By Jennifer L. Krstolic, Gregory C. Johnson, and Brett J.K. Ostby

Title Page Report (753 KB)


Chemical, physical, and biological data were collected during 2009–2011 as part of a study of the Clinch River in Virginia and Tennessee. The data from this study, data-collection methods, and laboratory analytical methods used in the study are documented in this report. The study was conducted to describe the conditions of the Clinch River and to determine if there are measurable differences in chemical, physical, or biological characteristics in a segment of the river where freshwater mussel populations are in decline, have low density, richness, little to no recruitment, and lack endangered species (low-quality reach) compared to a segment of the river where mussel assemblages have relatively high density, richness, evidence of recruitment, and support endangered species (high-quality reach). Five continuous water-quality monitors were installed and operated on the mainstem of the Clinch River and two tributaries. Discrete water-quality sample sets were collected during base-flow and stormflow conditions at two sites on the Clinch River and on the Guest River, a tributary to the Clinch River predominantly in the Appalachian Plateaus Physiographic Province. Base-flow water-quality samples were collected in July and August 2011 at 15 sites along the mainstem of the Clinch River. Other analyses included longitudinal sampling along the mainstem of the Clinch River at 10 sites to evaluate bed-sediment chemistry, habitat condition, and mollusk community status. In situ freshwater mussel growth and mortality experiments were conducted with hatchery propogated Villosa iris (rainbow mussels). Tissue from the V. iris as well as tissue from 16 Actinonaias pectorosa mussels were analyzed for trace metals, and V. iris mussel tissue was analyzed for organic compounds. Data collected during this investigation were analyzed by various U.S. Geological Survey or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laboratories.

First posted November 21, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Virginia Water Science Center
1730 East Parham Road
Richmond, VA 23228
Telephone: (804) 261–2600


Director, Tennessee Water Science Center
640 Grassmere Park, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 837–4700

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Suggested citation:

Krstolic, J.L., Johnson, G.C., and Ostby, B.J.K., 2013, Water quality, sediment characteristics, aquatic habitat, geomorphology, and mussel population status of the Clinch River, Virginia and Tennessee, 2009–2011: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 802, 15 p. + appendix tables A1–A25 (Excel),

  ISSN 2327-638X (online)




Data Collection

Quality Control Data

Laboratory Methods

References Cited

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