Geographic variations in water quality and recreational use along the upper Wallowa River and selected tributaries Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5138jj43h

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  • Physical, chemical and bacterial water quality parameters of the upper Wallowa River were sampled periodically between July 2, 1978 and June 9, 1979 at nine stream and lake sampling sites. Water upstream from Wallowa Lake was typified by low nutrient concentrations ( generally below detectable limits except for nitrates), low. specific conductivity (50-99 micromhos), and water temperatures below 15°C. Results of bacterial sampling were inconclusive, but sites and areas warranting further study were identified. An intensive study of spatial variations in bacterial water quality and recreational use was conducted at 15 stream and lake sampling sites on the East Fork of the Wallowa River between July 5 and September 3, 1979. Streamflow, precipitation, water temperatures, and fecal coliform bacteria counts were determined two or three times per week and during storm events. Levels and patterns of recreational use were also monitored during that period. Fecal coliform counts varied significantly (at the 0.001 p level) with geographic patterns of recreational use, but there was no significant relationship between levels of recreational use. Bacterial water quality also varied significantly (at the 0.001 p level) between habitats in the study area. Fecal coliform counts were lowest in lakes and alpine streams and highest in meadow and forest streams. Fecal coliform counts were closely correlated ( r = 0.57 to 0.84, significant at the 0.01 level) with precipitation in the lower portions of the study area, but not in the headwaters where sources of fecal contamination were relatively absent. Fecal coliform counts were generally highest during the rising phase of storm runoff at those sites below 2200 m; however, prediction equations based on hydrologic variables lacked precision because significant levels of fecal contamination entered the areas streams during dry periods.
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