The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians in Calhoun County, Michigan is concerned about the water quality and quantity of streams in and around tribal lands and of shallow ground water. The tribe wanted to establish a database that included streamflow, stage, and water quality of local streams and quality of ground water from wells belonging to the tribe and its members. Concerned about the effects of long-term agricultural activity and increasing numbers of singlefamily dwellings being constructed within the watershed both on and off the reservation, the tribe wants to develop a water-resources management plan.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured streamflow and installed staff gages tied into local datum on three tributaries of the St. Joseph River that cross tribal lands. Water-quality samples were collected from the sites under a variety of flow regimes from spring to fall during 2000-03. Stage-streamflow rating curves were constructed for Pine Creek and Athens & Indian Creek Drain after a number of discharge measurements were made and a thorough basin analysis was completed. Daily streamflow for Pine Creek near Athens was estimated for the period from May 2000 through September 2003.
USGS collected 12 water samples at Pine Creek near Athens, Athens & Indian Creek Drain, and an unnamed tributary to Pine Creek during October 2000 through September 2003. Physical properties were measured, and the streams were sampled for major ions, nutrients, trace elements, caffeine, and herbicides/pesticides and their breakdown products (degradates). The tribe also measured physical properties weekly at the three sites during each growing season for the study period. Surface water at the three sites can be classified as hard, with calcium carbonate concentrations exceeding 180 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Concentrations of calcium, magnesium, chloride, and dissolved solids are typical of the area. There were 68 detections of 17 pesticides, degradates, and caffeine. Atrazine and metolachlor were detected in all samples, and the atrazine degradate deethylatrazine was detected in all samples from Pine Creek and Athens & Indian Creek Drain. Another atrazine degradate (2-hydroxy-atrazine, or OIET) was detected five of the six times that it was included in the analyses. A single sample collected from Athens & Indian Creek Drain in May 2001 had relatively higher concentrations of acetochlor, atrazine, CIAT (deethylatrazine), and diuron than the other sampling sites did during the study. Analysis for various species of mercury was completed on samples collected at Pine Creek and Athens & Indian Creek Drain in July 2003, and results were similar to those typical of unimpaired streams in the Midwest. None of the surface-water sites had major ion, nutrient, or trace-element concentrations that exceeded Michigan Department of Environmental Quality standards for nonpotable surface water.
USGS also collected 11 ground-water samples from 7 wells on or adjacent to the traditional reservation in 2003. Two wells were sampled twice, and a single well was sampled three times, in order to document any chemical changes that might have occurred as a result of aquifer recharge, which most typically occurs in late winter to spring in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Samples were analyzed for 184 pesticides and degradates and caffeine. There were five detections of four pesticides or degradates, but none of the detected chemicals are included in current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drinking-water standards. The remaining 181 analytes were below laboratory reporting limits.