Five streams in the Cook Inlet Basin, Alaska, were sampled in 1998 to provide the National Park Service with baseline information on water quality. Four of these streams drain National Park Service land: Costello and Colorado Creeks in Denali National Park and Preserve, Johnson River in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and Kamishak River in Katmai National Park and Preserve. The fifth site was on the Talkeetna River, outside of national park boundaries. Samples of stream water, streambed sediments, and fish tissues were collected for chemical analyses. Biological and geomorphic information was also collected at each site.
Nutrient concentrations in stream water were low and commonly were less than analytical detection limits. Analyses of fish tissues for 28 organochlorine compounds at Talkeetna River and Costello Creek produced just one detection. Hexachlorobenzene was detected at a concentration of 5.70 micrograms per kilogram in slimy sculpin from the Talkeetna River. Streambed sediment samples from the Talkeetna River had three organochlorine compounds at detectable levels; hexachlorobenzene was measured at 13 micrograms per kilogram and two other compounds were below the minimum reporting levels. At Colorado Creek, Johnson River, and Kamishak River, where fish samples were not collected, no organochlorine compounds were detected in streambed sediment samples. Several semivolatile organic compounds were detected at Colorado Creek and Costello Creek. Only one compound, dibenzothiophene, detected at Costello Creek at a concentration of 85 micrograms per kilogram was above the minimum reporting limit. No semivolatile organic compounds were detected at the Talkeetna, Kamishak, or Johnson Rivers. Trace elements were detected in both fish tissues and streambed sediments.
Macroinvertebrate and fish samples contained few taxa at all sites. Total numbers of macroinvertebrate taxa ranged from 19 at the Johnson River to 38 at the Talkeetna River. Diptera were the most abundant and diverse order of macroinvertebrates at all sites. Total numbers of diptera taxa ranged from 8 at the Kamishak River to 19 at the Talkeetna River. Fish communities were represented by a maximum of nine taxa at the Talkeetna River and were absent at Colorado Creek. The Johnson River sampling site produced small numbers of juvenile Dolly Varden, and Costello Creek produced small numbers of both juvenile Dolly Varden and slimy sculpin.