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Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5267

Prepared in cooperation with Douglas County, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the cities of Aurora, Northglenn, Thornton, and Westminster, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado River Water Conservation District, Colorado Springs Utilities, Denver Water, Federal Emergency Management Agency, North Front Range Water Quality Planning Association, and Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests

Analysis of Postfire Hydrology, Water Quality, and Sediment Transport for Selected Streams in Areas of the 2002 Hayman and Hinman Fires, Colorado

By Michael R. Stevens

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (61.2 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a 5-year study in 2003 that focused on postfire stream-water quality and postfire sediment load in streams within the Hayman and Hinman fire study areas. This report compares water quality of selected streams receiving runoff from unburned areas and burned areas using concentrations and loads, and trend analysis, from seasonal data (approximately April–November) collected 2003–2007 at the Hayman fire study area, and data collected from 1999–2000 (prefire) and 2003 (postfire) at the Hinman fire study area. The water-quality data collected during this study include onsite measurements of streamflow, specific conductance, and turbidity, laboratory-determined pH, and concentrations of major ions, nutrients, organic carbon, trace elements, and suspended sediment. Postfire floods and effects on water quality of streams, lakes and reservoirs, drinking-water treatment, and the comparison of measured concentrations to applicable water quality standards also are discussed.

Exceedances of Colorado water-quality standards in streams of both the Hayman and Hinman fire study areas only occurred for concentrations of five trace elements (not all trace-element exceedances occurred in every stream). Selected samples analyzed for total recoverable arsenic (fixed), dissolved copper (acute and chronic), total recoverable iron (chronic), dissolved manganese (acute, chronic, and fixed) and total recoverable mercury (chronic) exceeded Colorado aquatic-life standards.

First posted January 3, 2014

Center Director, Colorado Water Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, Mail Stop 415
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Stevens, M.R., 2013, Analysis of postfire hydrology, water quality, and sediment transport for selected streams in areas of the 2002 Hayman and Hinman fires, Colorado: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012–5267, 93 p.,

ISSN 2328-0328 (online)






Water Quality

Sediment Transport





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