Water-Quality Data from 2002 to 2003 and Analysis of Data Gaps for Development of Total Maximum Daily Loads in the Lower Klamath River Basin, California

Lorraine E. Flint, Alan L. Flint, Debra S. Curry, Stewart A. Rounds, and Micelis C. Doyle



Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5255

Sacramento, California 2005



Prepared in cooperation with the
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected water-quality data during 2002 and 2003 in the Lower Klamath River Basin, in northern California, to support studies of river conditions as they pertain to the viability of Chinook and Coho salmon and endangered suckers. To address the data needs of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), water temperature, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, and pH were continuously monitored at sites on the Klamath, Trinity, Shasta, and Lost Rivers. Water-quality samples were collected and analyzed for selected nutrients, organic carbon, chlorophyll-a, pheophytin-a, and trace elements. Sediment oxygen demand was measured on the Shasta River. Results of analysis of the data collected were used to identify locations in the Lower Klamath River Basin and periods of time during 2002 and 2003 when river conditions were more likely to be detrimental to salmonid or sucker health because of occasional high water temperatures, low dissolved oxygen, and conditions that supported abundant populations of algae and aquatic plants. The results were also used to assess gaps in data by furthering the development of the conceptual model of water flow and quality in the Lower Klamath River Basin using available data and the current understanding of processes that affect water quality and by assessing needs for the develoment of mathematical models of the system. The most notable gap in information for the study area is in sufficient knowledge about the occurrence and productivity of algal communities. Other gaps in data include vertical water-quality profiles for the reservoirs in the study area, and in an adequate understanding of the chemical oxygen demands and the sediment oxygen demands in the rivers and of the influence of riparian shading on the rivers. Several mathematical models are discussed in this report for use in characterizing the river systems in the study area; also discussed are the specific data needed for the models, and the spatial and temporal data available as boundary conditions. The models will be useful for the future development of TMDLs for temperature, nutrients, and dissolved oxygen and for assessing the role of natural and anthropogenic sources of heat, oxygen-producing and -consuming substances, and nutrients in the Klamath, Shasta, and Lost Rivers.






Model Development

Water Quality

Data Collection and Analysis

Continuous Monitoring

Klamath River Locations

Water Temperature

Dissolved Oxygen

Lost River Locations

Monthly Water-Quality Sampling

2002 Sampling Program

Klamath River Locations

Lost River Locations

2003: Parcel-Tracking Study on the Klamath and Shasta Rivers

Klamath River Parcel Tracking

Shasta River Parcel Tracking

Sediment Oxygen Demand Study on the Shasta River


SOD Results

Relevance of Water-Quality Observations to 2002 Fish Kill on the Klamath River

Model Code Selection and Analysis

Model Description: SIAM

Model Description: WQRRS; RMA2; RMA11

Model Description: CE-QUAL-W2

Model Application and Data Gaps

Potential Data Sources

Meteorological Data

Stream Shading

Vertical Reservoir Profiles


Selected References

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Water Resources of California

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
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