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National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) -- Nevada Basin and Range Study Unit
Liaison commitee updates
Progress through the end of March 2003

Progress on our work plan through June 2003 has been good. 
Below is a summary of our major achievements through the end of June 2003.

Surface water


During the 2003 fiscal year, which started on October 1, 2002, we have been sampling our 3 trends sites.  Data from these sites are available on the USGS NWIS web site ( for previous years up to September 2001.  Current data is still going through quality control checks, but simple plots of chloride and nitrate versus time and flow (click on the Trend Site map to see plots) are provided here as examples of our current data.  Sampling has continued at all three sites through the end of March.

We are currently in the process of writing a journal article on the semi-permeable membrane device (SPMD) study of the Tahoe basin and Truckee River.  SPMDs concentrate non-polar organic contaminants such as VOCs, PAHs and other fuel byproducts from water and can give an estimation of the toxic effects of these substances in the river.  Funding was obtained from the Biological Resources division to help us write this paper.  We expect the paper to be sent to the journal by the end of September 2003.   

Hourly specific conductance and temperature data are still being collected from the probes that were installed at our trend sites in the beginning of 2002.

In December we started sampling the Truckee River at Chalk Bluff, which is directly upstream of the Truckee Meadows water supply intake.  This sampling is part of the national Source Water Assessment study.  We are sampling once a month with additional samples being collected during critical periods of the year. We are collecting samples for possible microbial contamination as well as chemical inorganic and organic compounds.



The Urban Land Use Gradient (ULUG) study that was planned for the Tahoe and Truckee River basins has been cancelled for Nevada due NAWQA budget constraints.  A notice of this was sent out to members of the NVBR liaison committee.  We have written proposals to conduct our own version of a ULUG study in collaboration with Dr Laurel Saito from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Our study would concentrate on determining how the food web is affected by urbanization and determine ecological criteria for urban disturbance in a river ecosystem.  We have written several proposals to different funding sources to get this study underway.  Initial funding from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe has allowed us to sample sites at Nixon Lockwood and Wadsworth.   If you would like more information on the ULUG study or would like to be involved with this project please contact Michael Rosen ( or Tim Rowe (

Ground Water

We have continued to participate in a topical study on the Transport of Anthropogenic and Natural Contaminants (TANC) in ground water in the Spanish Springs and Carson City area.  We have begun to analyze data collected from public water supply wells and USGS data that is less than 5 years old.  Write up of the results will begin this quarter.  The TANC study involves using existing data collected by the cities for public supply wells and using this information to determine pathways of contaminants.

We will be finishing the carbonate aquifer sampling northeast of Las Vegas in July.  Sampling has progressed well and we anticipate finishing this sampling by the end of July. 

The Major Aquifer Study in the Reno/Carson City area that was to begin sampling in January 2003 was postponed until April 2003.  This was done because many of the Reno water supply wells will be shut down during January and Truckee River water would be artificially recharged to these wells at this time.  Therefore it was decided to avoid sampling at this time.  Because of these delays in sampling we are still waiting to sample some of the Reno municipal supply wells.  We expect to have this sampling completed in July.


Plans for July  – September 2003

Our main focus for July to September 2003 will be to: 1) continue the trend site data collection, 2) Finish sampling the 30 wells for a Major Aquifer Study in the Reno/Carson City areas, 3) Finish planning of the Carbonate Aquifer Major Aquifer Study and start the sampling in June, 4) Place SPMDs in the Tahoe Basin and Truckee River sampling sites in August, 5) Continue sampling water in the Truckee River just upstream of the Chalk Bluff water supply intake as part of a surface water Source Water Assessment study, 6) continue working on the Topical Team (TANC) project, and 7) conduct single and multiple reach ecological sampling on the Truckee and Carson rivers.

The next quarterly update will be posted in October 2003.  Comments and suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to Michael Rosen, NVBR project chief (


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For Further Information on the NAWQA Program:

Michael Rosen, Ph.D.
Project Chief
333 W. Nye Lane
Carson City, NV 89706
(775) 887-7683

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Last Modified: February 9, 2006
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