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Data Series 488

National Water-Quality Assessment Program

Data Used in Analyses of Trends, and Nutrient and Suspended-Sediment Loads for Streams in the Southeastern United States, 1973–2005

By Erik L. Staub, Kelly L. Peak, Kirsten C. Tighe, Eric M. Sadorf, and Douglas A. Harned


Water-quality data from selected surface-water monitoring sites in the Southeastern United States were assessed for trends in concentrations of nutrients, suspended sediment, and major constituents and for in-stream nutrient and suspended-sediment loads for the period 1973–2005. The area of interest includes river basins draining into the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Tennessee River—drainage basins in Hydrologic Regions 03 (South Atlantic – Gulf) and 06 (Tennessee). This data assessment is related to studies of several major river basins as part of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Assessment Program, which was designed to assess national water-quality trends during a common time period (1993–2004).

Included in this report are data on which trend tests could be performed from 44 U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System (NWIS) sampling sites. The constituents examined include major ions, nutrients, and suspended sediment; the physical properties examined include pH, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and streamflow. Also included are data that were tested for trends from an additional 290 sites from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Storage and Retrieval (STORET) database. The trend analyses of the STORET data were limited to total nitrogen and total phosphorus concentrations. Data from 48 U.S. Geological Survey NWIS sampling sites with sufficient water-quality and continuous streamflow data for estimating nutrient and sediment loads are included.

The methods of data compilation and modification used prior to performing trend tests and load estimation are described. Results of the seasonal Kendall trend test and the Tobit trend test are given for the 334 monitoring sites, and in-stream load estimates are given for the 48 monitoring sites. Basin characteristics are provided, including regional landscape variables and agricultural nutrient sources (annual variations in cropping and fertilizer use). The data and results presented in this report are in tabular format and can be downloaded and used by environmental researchers and water managers, particularly in the Southeast.

First posted January 6, 2010

  • Data Tables (All data tables are in this directory and its subdirectories. The ZIP file contains all tables, compressed.)

This report is presented in HTML. Main headings are listed below. The data are linked from the List of Tables.

For additional information contact:
Director, North Carolina Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
3916 Sunset Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Staub, E.L., Peak, K.L., Tighe, K.C., Sadorf, E.M., and Harned, D.A., 2009, Data used in analysis of trends, and nutrient and suspended-sediment loads for streams in the Southeastern United States, 1973–2005: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 488, available online only at

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