More information on the next cycle of NAWQA studies


1.      Sugar Creek watershed, located east of Indianapolis, Indiana, was selected for the agricultural contaminants transport and fate (ACT) topical study. Sugar Creek watershed was selected because it is representative of corn and soybean row cropping typical in the Midwest. USGS scientists are studying five watersheds across the Nation to better understand how natural factors and agricultural management practices (AMPs) affect the transport of water and chemicals. Natural factors include climate and landscape (soil type, topography, geology), and AMPs include practices related to tillage, irrigation, and chemical application. The study approach is similar in each watershed so that we can compare and contrast the results and more accurately predict conditions in other agricultural settings. The goals of these studies are to

·        Understand the links between the sources of water and agricultural chemicals (nutrients and pesticides) and their behavior and transport through the environment

·        Predict the behavior and transport of water and agricultural chemicals in other agricultural areas not being studied

·        Evaluate what the study results mean for management of water and water quality in a variety of agricultural settings.

A Fact Sheet with more detailed information about the USGS work at Sugar Creek watershed is available at


2.      Seventeen sites in Indiana and 11 sites in Ohio are being considered for the Nutrient Enrichment Effects (NEET) topical study.  Elevated nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in our streams, rivers, lakes, and estuarine environments can cause substantial environmental and economic consequences, such as, eutrophication, which can result in excessive, often unsightly, growth of algae and other aquatic plants. Overgrowth of aquatic plants can clog water-intake pipes and filters and can interfere with recreational activities, such as fishing, swimming, and boating. Their subsequent decay often results in foul odors, bad taste, and low dissolved oxygen in water (hypoxia).  NEET studies will help states establish nutrient concentrations based on algal biomass and the condition of the biological communities to develop their own plans or accept USEPA’s proposed nutrient criteria by 2007. All of the sites being considered are in Ecoregion VI (Eastern Corn Belt).  More information about NEET studies can be found at


3.      Fifteen public-supply wells near Dayton were sampled in the fall of 2002 for the NAWQA ground-water source water-quality assessment (SWQA) program. These wells will be resampled in 2004 and the data will be used in the topical study, transport of anthropogenic (human produced) and natural contaminants (TANC), in which USGS scientists are studying the transport of arsenic in ground water near the City of Dayton public-supply wells. Specifically, the Dayton ground-water-flow model is being updated at a larger scale. More information about the SWQA and TANC studies is available from Mary Ann Thomas (, 614-430-7736) or Sandra Eberts (, 614-430-7740).