Hydrologic Benchmark Network, Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

In Reply Refer To:

Mail Stop 412                                                                                                    May 12, 2003

Office of Water Quality Technical Memorandum 2003.06

Subject: Hydrologic Benchmark Network, Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

This memorandum contains a summary of the activities of the Hydrologic Benchmark (HBN) for
FY 2003, including the stations being operated, stations where water-quality measurements are being reinitiated, constituents measured, and other operational details. Further details on HBN operations can be obtained from either the National Coordinator or the field coordinators. Contact information is contained at the end of this memorandum.

FY 2003 implementation

In FY 2002, all Districts were surveyed to gather information necessary for a re-launch of the historic long-term HBN sites. Districts completed site nominations and questionnaires to determine which still met network design criteria of medium sized watersheds which enjoy long-term protection from development and can serve as (1) a benchmark to measure changes in water quality brought about by land use development in other watersheds and (2) to gage the physical and chemical response of these undeveloped medium sized watersheds to changes in climate and inputs of nutrients, acidity and base cations from atmospheric deposition. Of the 54 sites nominated, careful examination of the proposals indicated that 36 sites still met the criteria to serve as benchmark sites, both now and anticipated for many decades in the future. The 36 stations to be operated in FY 2003 for stream gaging only (21) and for gaging and water-quality sampling (15) are shown in Figure 1. The complete listing of stations, along with number of samples to be collected, is contained in Attachment 1. The funding for gaging and sample collection by station and District are contained in Attachment 2. Stations, which no longer meet the criteria for HBN stations and where stream-gaging support from the HBN program will be discontinued at the end of FY 2003, are given in attachment 3.

 In FY 2003 the program will:



Constituents Measured

Streamflow, major ions, alkalinity, and nutrients (including carbon species) will be measured at HBN stations. Chemical and hydrologic monitoring provides basic, yet critical, data needed as part of any ecosystem monitoring effort.  Stream chemistry integrates the chemical and hydrologic processes in basins.  Phase II of the Title IV‑mandated Clean Air Act emission reductions began in 2000, and HBN data will continue to provide an evaluation of trends in aquatic response to these regulatory actions. HBN monitoring and assessments will objectively gage the effectiveness of control measures intended to mitigate impacts of sulfur and nitrogen deposition to sensitive ecosystems. Having monitoring systems in place to measure these changes will continue to grow in importance, especially in light of further major reductions in emissions of sulfur and nitrogen oxides proposed under the Presidents Clear Skies Initiative.

When combined with long-term soil, vegetation, and precipitation chemistry data, it is possible to track chemical changes in ecosystem compartments caused by atmospheric deposition of pollutants (Smith and Alexander 1983, Clow and Mast 1999).  For example, seasonal and long-term patterns in concentrations and fluxes of nitrogen entering and leaving HBN basins can be used to evaluate possible effects of excess N deposition on ecosystems.  Calcium depletion in forest soils can be examined based on long-term trends in calcium in stream water and soils. 

Why is the HBN is important to the nation?

The HBN is the only national network suitable for tracking the health of ecosystems in mid-size, undisturbed basins in the United States.  The HBN basins are of appropriate size for detecting changes in ecosystem processes at the landscape scale caused by acidic deposition, excess nutrient deposition, and climate change.  They are larger than typical research watersheds where most process-oriented work has been done (making them more relevant to resource managers), but are small enough to be responsive to regional anthropogenic effects.  The HBN provides a background frame of reference for evaluating changes in chemistry and hydrology at larger scales, such as those found in the NAWQA and NASQAN basins, which have been affected by land-use changes and water diversions. 

The Hydrologic Benchmark basins are unique in that they are representative of much of the Federal land managed by the DOI National Park Service and the USDA Forest Service.  The National Park Service needs the type of information provided by HBN to evaluate possible effects of climate change and atmospheric deposition of pollutants on National Park land, and is counting on HBN data to serve as a foundation for their Inventory and Monitoring Program. The importance of HBN data to the National Park Service is demonstrated by their willingness to contribute resources to the HBN monitoring effort.  In Yosemite and Glacier National Parks, for example, the National Park Service has joined USGS in a true collaborative effort, by providing personnel and physical resources critical for ongoing sample collection activities.  The National Park Service is actively seeking funds to help support monitoring of Cataloochee Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Forest Service needs HBN data to help them evaluate and track forest health, allowing them to better manage National Forests for sustainable development and use.  The Forest Service and the environmental community will find HBN data invaluable as they attempt to establish background conditions for the National Forests prior to increased logging that is expected as a result of the Healthy Forests Initiative proposed by President Bush.  The potential to develop monitoring partnerships with the Forest Service at HBN stations is large and untapped.

HBN Contact Information

For any questions on the HBN Program, contact any of the following individuals:

Timothy L. MillerChief,
Office of Water Quality

Distribution:      A, B, DC, AO, District and Regional Water-Quality Specialists


Attachment 1. FY 2003 HBN Stations

Station ID

Name

District

FY03 Chemistry

HBN region Coordinator

Planned Samples (1/2 FY)

11208000

Marble Fork

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

11264500

Merced R

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

10343500

Sagehen Ck

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

06733000

Big Thompson R

CO

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

09352900

Vallecito Ck

CO

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

06879650

Kings Ck

KS

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

05014300

Swiftcurrent

MT

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

14161500

Lookout Ck

OR

Yes

Clow & Mast

8

01054200

Wild R.

ME

Yes

McHale

8

05124480

Kawishiwi R.

MN

Yes

McHale

8

01466500

McDonalds' Br

NJ

Yes

McHale

8

01435000

Neversink R

NY

Yes

McHale

8

01545600

Young Womans Ck

PA

Yes

McHale

8

03497300

Little R

TN

Yes

McHale

8

04063700

Popple R

WI

Yes

McHale

8

15292700

Talkeetna River near Talkeetna

AK

No

 

0

02450250

Sipsey Fk

AL

No

 

0

07060710

N. Sylamore Ck

AR

No

 

0

09508300

Wet Bottom Creek near Childs

AZ

No

 

0

11475560

Elder Ck

CA

No

 

0

07083000

Halfmoon Creek

CO

No

 

0

02327100

Sopchoppy River near Sopchoppy

FL

No

 

0

16618000

Kahakuloa Stream near Honokohau

HI

No

 

0

04001000

Washington Creek at Windigo

MI

No

 

0

02479155

Cypress Creek nr Janice    

MS

No

 

0

03460000

Cataloochee Ck

NC

No

 

0

09430600

Mogollon Creek near Cliff

NM

No

 

0

08377900

Rio Mora near Tererro

NM

No

 

0

10249300

S Twin R Nr Round Mountain 

NV

No

 

0

07335700

Kiamichi River Near Big Cedar, OK  

OK

No

 

0

13331500

Minam River at Minam

OR

No

 

0

10172200

Red Butte Creek at Ft Douglas, UT

UT

No

 

0

02038850

Holiday Creek near Andersonville

VA

No

 

0

12447390

Andrews Creek nr Mazama

WA

No

 

0

13018300

Cache Creek near Jackson

WY

No

 

0

06623800

Encampment River above Hog Park near Encampment

WY

No

 

0


Attachment 2. FY 2003 Funding Allocations by Station and District for continuing HBN stations

Station ID

Name

District

FY03 Chemistry

HBN region Coordinator

District gaging allocation

District sampling allocation

11208000

Marble Fork

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

$3,500

$0

11264500

Merced R

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

$14,500

$1,350

10343500

Sagehen Ck

CA

Yes

Clow & Mast

$14,500

$1,200

06733000

Big Thompson R

CO

Yes

Clow & Mast

$0

$0

09352900

Vallecito Ck

CO

Yes

Clow & Mast

$9,100

$5,200

06879650

Kings Ck

KS

Yes

Clow & Mast

$10,300

$5,200

05014300

Swiftcurrent

MT

Yes

Clow & Mast

$7,000

 

14161500

Lookout Ck

OR

Yes

Clow & Mast

$11,700

$5,200

01054200

Wild R.

ME

Yes

McHale

$9,600

$5,200

05124480

Kawishiwi R.

MN

Yes

McHale

$8,900

$5,200

01466500

McDonalds' Br

NJ

Yes

McHale

$9,600

$5,200

01435000

Neversink R

NY

Yes

McHale

$10,000

$0

01545600

Young Womans Ck

PA

Yes

McHale

$11,500

$2,700

03497300

Little R

TN

Yes

McHale

$11,900

$5,200

04063700

Popple R

WI

Yes

McHale

$8,900

$5,200

15292700

Talkeetna River near Talkeetna

AK

No

 

$18,800

$0

02450250

Sipsey Fk

AL

No

 

$10,300

$0

07060710

N. Sylamore Ck

AR

No

 

$10,600

$0

09508300

Wet Bottom Creek near Childs

AZ

No

 

$13,000

$0

11475560

Elder Ck

CA

No

 

$14,500

$0

07083000

Halfmoon Creek

CO

No

 

$9,100

$0

02327100

Sopchoppy River near Sopchoppy

FL

No

 

$9,800

$0

16618000

Kahakuloa Stream near Honokohau

HI

No

 

$9,600

$0

04001000

Washington Creek at Windigo

MI

No

 

$8,000

$0

02479155

Cypress Creek nr Janice, MS   

MS

No

 

$10,000

$0

03460000

Cataloochee Ck

NC

No

 

$11,300

$0

09430600

Mogollon Creek near Cliff

NM

No

 

$10,700

$0

08377900

Rio Mora near Tererro

NM

No

 

$10,700

$0

10249300

S Twin R Nr Round Mountain

NV

No

 

$10,700

$0

07335700

Kiamichi River Nr Big Cedar  

OK

No

 

$10,700

$0

13331500

Minam River at Minam

OR

No

 

$11,700

$0

10172200

Red Butte Creek at Ft Douglas, UT

UT

No

 

$11,000

$0

02038850

Holiday Creek near Andersonville

VA

No

 

$9,700

$0

12447390

Andrews Creek nr Mazama

WA

No

 

$10,800

$0

13018300

Cache Creek near Jackson

WY

No

 

$8,900

$0

06623800

Encampment River above Hog Park

WY

No

 

$8,900

$0


Attachment 3. FY 2003 Funding allocations by Station and District for HBN stream gages that will not be supported by the HBN program in FY04

Station

District

Allocation

Blackwater River near Bradley

AL

$10,400

Cossatot River near Vandervoort

AR

$10,600

Big Jacks Creek near Bruneau

ID

$11,600

Hayden Creek below North Fork near Hayden Lake

ID

$11,600

Big Creek at Pollock

LA

$8,400

Rock Creek below Horse Creek

MT

$9,000

Bear Den Creek near Mandaree

ND

$10,600

Dismal River near Thedford

NE

$10,600

Steptoe Creek near Ely

NV

$10,800

Biscuit Brook

NY

$10,000

Upper Twin Creek

OH

$9,400

Blue Beaver Creek near Cache

OK

$10,800

Crater Lake near Crater Lake

OR

$11,800

Scape Ore Swamp near Bishopville

SC

$9,800

Castle Creek above Deerfield Reservoir

SD

$9,500