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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5125

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Streamflow Gains and Losses and Selected Water-Quality Observations in Five Subreaches of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte from near Presidio to Langtry, Texas, Big Bend Area, United States and Mexico, 2006

By Timothy H. Raines, Michael J. Turco, Patrick J. Connor, and Jeffery B. Bennett

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.98 MB)Abstract

Few historical streamflow and water-quality data are available to characterize the segment of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte (hereinafter Rio Grande) extending from near Presidio to near Langtry, Texas. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, collected water-quality and streamflow data from the Rio Grande from near Presidio to near Langtry, Texas, to characterize the streamflow gain and loss and selected constituent concentrations in a 336.3-mile reach of the Rio Grande from near Presidio to near Langtry, Texas. Streamflow was measured at 38 sites and water-quality samples were collected at 20 sites along the Rio Grande in February, March, and June 2006. Streamflow gains and losses over the course of the stream were measured indirectly by computing the differences in measured streamflow between sites along the stream. Water-quality data were collected and analyzed for salinity, dissolved solids, major ions, nutrients, trace elements, and stable isotopes. Selected properties and constituents were compared to available Texas Commission on Environmental Quality general use protection criteria or screening levels. Summary statistics of selected water-quality data were computed for each of the five designated subreaches. Streamflow gain and loss and water-quality constituent concentration were compared for each subreach, rather than the entire segment because of the temporal variation in sample collection caused by controlled releases upstream. Subreach A was determined to be a losing reach, and subreaches B, C, D, and E were determined to be gaining reaches. Compared to concentrations measured in upstream subreaches, downstream subreaches exhibited evidence of dilution of selected constituent concentrations. Subreaches A and B had measured total dissolved solids, chloride, and sulfate exceeding the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality general use protection criteria. Subreaches C, D, and E did not exceed the general use protection criteria for any constituent concentration criteria, but dissolved oxygen concentrations did not meet the general use criteria in these subreaches.

First posted July 5, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, Texas Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
1505 Ferguson Lane
Austin, Texas 78754-4501
http://tx.usgs.gov/

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Suggested citation:

Raines, T.H., Turco, M.J., Connor, P.J., and Bennett, J.B., 2012, Streamflow gains and losses and selected water-quality observations in five subreaches of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte from near Presidio to Langtry, Texas, Big Bend area, United States and Mexico, 2006: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5125, 30 p.



Contents

Acknowledgments

Abstract

Introduction

Methods of Investigation

Streamflow Gains and Losses

Selected Water-Quality Observations

Summary

References

Appendix 1. Oxygen and nitrogen isotope data in water-quality samples from the main-stem Rio Grande, Big Bend area, United States and Mexico, February 5–June 29, 2006

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