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Open-File Report 2014–1009

Prepared in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation

Statistical Analysis of the Water-Quality Monitoring Program, Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, and Optimization of the Program for 2013 and Beyond

By Sara L. Caldwell Eldridge, Susan A. Wherry, and Tamara M. Wood

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (12.2 MB)Summary

Upper Klamath Lake in south-central Oregon has become increasingly eutrophic over the past century and now experiences seasonal cyanobacteria-dominated and potentially toxic phytoplankton blooms. Growth and decline of these blooms create poor water-quality conditions that can be detrimental to fish, including two resident endangered sucker species. Upper Klamath Lake is the primary water supply to agricultural areas within the upper Klamath Basin. Water from the lake is also used to generate power and to enhance and sustain downstream flows in the Klamath River.

Water quality in Upper Klamath Lake has been monitored by the Klamath Tribes since the early 1990s and by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) since 2002. Management agencies and other stakeholders have determined that a re-evaluation of the goals for water-quality monitoring is warranted to assess whether current data-collection activities will continue to adequately provide data for researchers to address questions of interest and to facilitate future natural resource management decisions. The purpose of this study was to (1) compile an updated list of the goals and objectives for long-term water-quality monitoring in Upper Klamath Lake with input from upper Klamath Basin stakeholders, (2) assess the current water-quality monitoring programs in Upper Klamath Lake to determine whether existing data-collection strategies can fulfill the updated goals and objectives for monitoring, and (3) identify potential modifications to future monitoring plans in accordance with the updated monitoring objectives and improve stakeholder cooperation and data-collection efficiency.

Data collected by the Klamath Tribes and the USGS were evaluated to determine whether consistent long-term trends in water-quality variables can be described by the dataset and whether the number and distribution of currently monitored sites captures the full range of environmental conditions and the multi-scale variability of water-quality parameters in the lake. Also, current monitoring strategies were scrutinized for unnecessary redundancy within the overall network.

First posted June 30, 2014

For additional information, contact:
Director, Oregon Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
2130 SW 5th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97201

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Suggested citation:

Eldridge, S.L.C., Wherry, S.A., and Wood, T.M., 2014, Statistical analysis of the water-quality monitoring program, Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, and optimization of the program for 2013 and beyond: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1009, 82 p.,

ISSN 2331-1258 (online)




Purpose and Scope


Goals and Objectives for Future Upper Klamath Lake Long-Term Water-Quality Monitoring

Assessing Site Redundancy Using Principal Components Analysis of Discrete Sample Data

Detection of Long-Term Trends in Discrete Samples

Small-Scale and Short-Term Variability

Creating Synergy by Merging Datasets—Use of Monitoring Data as a Biomass Surrogate

Discussion and Synthesis with Implications for Future Monitoring Design


References Cited

Appendix: Data from synoptic surveys, Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon, 2012

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