Water Resources of North Dakota

Water-Quality Trends in North Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Surface-Water Monitoring Program

By W.R. Berkas

Abstract: North Dakota Water Quality Symposium, Fargo, North Dakota, March 30-31 1994

Surface water in North Dakota is an important resource and the quality of that resource is dependent on changing climate and land-use patterns. Water-quality changes due to climate and land-use changes may be identified by analyses of long-term water-quality data. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maintains an extensive, statewide network of surface-water monitoring stations in North Dakota from which water-quality samples are routinely collected. These water-quality data are stored in the USGS's National Water Data Storage and Retrieval System (WATSTORE) data base and are available for trend analysis. This report summarizes trends in water-quality data from selected monitoring stations on major rivers and streams in North Dakota. Monitoring stations were selected on the basis of location (to provide maximum coverage of the major drainages in North Dakota) and on the amount of available data (to provide maximum period of record). Water-quality constituents included in the trend analysis were specific-conductance values and concentrations of dissolved sulfate, dissolved chloride, dissolved nitrite plus nitrate, and total phosphorus. A seasonal Kendall test was used to determine trends.

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