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U.S. Geological Survey Activities Related to American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fiscal Year 2003

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Resource and Environmental Activities

Occurrence of Nutrients, Organic Compounds, and Mercury in the Meduxnekeag River Adjacent to Maliseet Tribal Lands. Although major point-sources of nutrients to the Meduxnekeag River have been reduced to levels permitted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, seasonal algal blooms in the river persist. One hypothesis is that seasonal algal blooms are driven by nutrients released from benthic sediments. Analyses of fish tissue samples in previous studies have indicated the presence of mercury, DDT and other recalcitrant organic compounds. It is unclear whether these compounds are associated with stream-bottom sediments in the Meduxnekeag River. A USGS project, begun in Fiscal Year 2003, is designed to establish the range of in-stream nutrient concentrations during the spring and summer of 2003 at sites upstream and downstream of Tribal lands. The study will determine concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous, mercury, and selected organic compounds in stream-bottom sediments at sites upstream and adjacent to the Maliseet Tribal lands. Additional project tasks include determining concentrations and ratios of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous in algal tissue collected from river samples at sites adjacent to tribal lands and assessing whether a relation exists between streamwater nutrients, sediments, and algal tissue. Contact: Charlie Culbertson, 207-622-8201, ext. 127,

Finding the Source of Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Water Used by the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians. Contamination of water from human and animal waste is a major cause of deteriorating water quality in receiving waters and can have direct social and economic impacts to communities through the loss of sustenance and recreational activities. In recent years, fecal contamination of surface waters by non-point source pollution (such as direct human and animal input, surface runoff, failing or inadequate septic systems, and sewer overflows or straight-pipes) has surpassed industrial and municipal point source pollution. Mitigating this problem depends on knowing the ultimate source of the fecal contamination. Because many waterborne pathogens, including viruses, are extremely difficult to detect and quantify, information on the human or animal origin of the fecal pollution may give an indication of the types of pathogens that might be expected, the inherent risk of infection, and the subsequent treatment needed to control the transmission of disease. Recent developments in molecular biology and biochemistry have made it possible to use bacterial indicator organisms, such as fecal coliforms, to indicate the probable sources of pathogens. USSG scientists have begun a new study in cooperation with the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians to identify the sources of fecal coliform bacteria in the Meduxnekeag River. The study will incorporate a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fingerprinting technique (genotyping) to differentiate between human and non-human sources of coliform bacteria in water samples collected from the Meduxnekeag River, flowing through Maliseet Tribal land, near Houlton, Maine. The objectives of the research are to determine the occurrence, density distribution, and human or animal origin of fecal coliform bacteria from non-point source pollution in a six-mile stretch of the Meduxnekeag River, adjacent to and including the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians' Reservation. Contact: Charlie Culbertson, 207-622-8201 ext. 127,

Support for Passamaquoddy Water Management Plan. The USGS Maine Water Resources District is continuing to work with the Passamaquoddy Indians to collect real-time streamflow information critical to the development of a water management plan for Tribal land in southeastern Maine. The watershed includes important blueberry barrens and Atlantic salmon habitat. Careful stewardship of the land requires accurate streamflow information. The USGS operated two streamflow gages in Fiscal Year 2000–01 and is committed to long-term operation of one gage. Contact: Charlie Culbertson, 207-622-8201, ext. 127,

Ecological Health and Contamination in the Penobscot River. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the USGS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and, initially, the University of Maine Analytical Environmental Chemistry Laboratory, partnered to gather information regarding the occurrence, distribution, and ecological and human health risks associated with dioxins, furans, and PCBs in fish and sediment in the Penobscot River. The USGS evaluated existing fish and sediment contaminant data from the Penobscot River's main channel from the Milford Dam impoundment in Old Town to Grindstone, Maine. A USGS administrative report summarizing the data quality was produced in 2003. Due to the unreliable nature of the data, the data could not be used to determine the occurrence and distribution of these contaminants in the River. The USGS is continuing to work with the BIA, the lead agency, along with EPA and ATSDR to propose a new study to assess human or ecological risks from potential contaminants in the river. A meeting was held at the Penobscot Indian Nation (Indian Island, Maine) in September 2003 to begin the proposal development process. Contact: Carl Orazio, 573-876-1823, or Susan Finger, 573-876-1850,

Salmon Migration and the Penobscot Indian Nation. The USGS Conte Andadromous Fish Lab is continuing an adult Atlantic salmon migration project on the Penobscot River in cooperation with the Penobscot Indian Nation (PIN) and the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission. The PIN has treaty-reserved sustenance fishing rights in a large part of the watershed. Thus, the PIN has great interest in the ongoing efforts to restore Atlantic salmon to the Penobscot River, including improving understanding of the current migration success of adult salmon through the multiple fish ladder system. This project was driven by a document produced by the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission's Technical Advisory Committee and reflects the PIN's input to that document. The Penobscot's interest in the passage rates, behavior, and performance of other migratory species such as alewives and American shad may influence the future direction of this project. Contact: Alex Haro, 413-863-3806,; Clem Fay (Penobscot Indian Nation), 207-827-7776,

Tribal Fisheries Restoration and Enhancement. The USGS Great Lakes Science Center's Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science continued assisting Tribes in restoring and enhancing their fisheries. Tunison staff stocked 220 catchable rainbow trout, reared at the Tunison facility, in waters of the Onondaga Nation. Tunison scientists continued assisting The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe by examining the feasibility of restoring Atlantic salmon in St. Lawrence River tributaries. Salmon restoration activities included stocking 21,500 salmon fry in tributaries of the St. Regis and Little Salmon Rivers and assessing survival through the fall. Survival of salmon fry was lower than in previous years, possibly due to drought conditions during summer. Over-winter survival of salmon was also lower than in previous years. The Environmental Division of The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Tunison Laboratory continue cooperating on a pilot project that focuses on the American eel population in the St. Lawrence River. The project involves field collecting American eels, ecological assessments, and laboratory analysis of eel health and life history of this population. Tunison staff are also working with Mohawk Tribal groups along the St. Lawrence in New York, Ontario, and Quebec concerning river water level studies carried out under the International Joint Commission. Contact: James H. Johnson, 607-753-9391, ext. 30,

Stemming Tropical-Fish Invasion of Restored Wetlands, Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. USGS biologists, the Seminole Tribe, and partners at Florida Atlantic University have completed a study of the invasion of restored wetlands on the Seminole Reservation by non-native fishes, which included an evaluation of methods to discourage the invasion of such wetlands. They compared the fish assemblages of natural wetlands to restored wetlands that had been drained for cattle pasture. They found that the natural wetlands had higher species richness of native fishes and, following a mild winter, also had higher numbers of introduced tropical fishes. A field experiment in the restored wetland showed that introduced fishes in shallow waters died during winter cold fronts, but survived in deeper habitats that offered thermal refuge. Manipulating water depths in the restored wetlands could offer a means of controlling introduced fishes. The scientists also found that the pump that provided water to restore the wetland caused high mortality of fishes passing through its impeller. Proper design of impellers and screens on pumps would be a way of reducing or eliminating the introduction of exotic fishes into wetlands if pumping was the major means of supplying water for restoration. Products obtained from this activity included two Masters of Science theses from Florida Atlantic University and final report to USGS and its partners. Contact: William (Bill) F. Loftus, 305-242-7835; Craig Tepper (Seminole Tribe of Florida), 954-966-6300, ext. 1120,

South Florida Ecosystem Program, Internal Surface Water Flows. As part of the Everglades Restoration Programs, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) propose modified water deliveries to The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Big Cypress National Preserve, and other parts of Florida's interior. The proposed changes are intended to provide net flood protection and water delivery to agricultural lands as well as partial restoration of historic ecosystem conditions within the Seminole lands. A baseline of current data is needed to help determine the effects that proposed water delivery changes will have on Seminole lands. The USGS has installed and is obtaining data from strategically located streamflow-gaging sites to help define future surface-water flow requirements and decompartmentalization efforts through the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Program. Subsequent studies based on accurate flow calibrations generated by data from these sites may then be used by other agencies for computation of nutrient and other contaminant loadings in the canal system. Data from continuous flow gages, at selected impact points for interior basins, will also complement the existing eastern flow canal discharge network and allow more accurately timed surface-water releases. USGS biologists are using the hydrological restoration of a wetland that had been drained for cattle pasture to test several hypotheses about the invasion of wetlands by non-native species, including methods that may discourage their use of such wetlands. Contact: Mitch Murray, 305-717-5827,; Bill Loftus, 305-242-7835,; Craig Tepper (Seminole Tribe of Florida), 954-966-6300, ext. 1120,

Sampling for fish using minnow traps and drift fence arrays in the Kissimmee Billie Slough on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.
Sampling for fish using minnow traps and drift fence arrays in the Kissimmee Billie Slough on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. Reference sites such as this cypress swamp were used to compare fish assemblages in these less disturbed, natural habitats with the fish assemblages in the restored wetland. Photo taken by Brad Dunker, USGS.

Juvenile Lake Trout Assessment in Keweenaw Bay. The Great Lakes Science Center's Lake Superior Biological Station continues to cooperate with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in restoring lake trout stocks in Keweenaw Bay. The KBIC is concerned with low levels of reproduction and abundance of juvenile lake trout in lower Keweenaw Bay; a management plan was developed to restore that stock. The Center uses a research vessel to conduct bottom trawl assessments of fish communities of the lower Keweenaw Bay and adjacent management areas to assist the KBIC in evaluating the success of the lake trout restoration effort. From annual spring trawl assessments of the bay, the Center provides the following items to the KBIC's fishery biologists: catch data on stocked and wild lake trout, specimens of stocked lake trout with imbedded coded wire tags, and comparisons of fish community composition in the Bay with that in nearby Lake Superior fishery management units. Contact: Owen Gorman, 715-682-163,; Mike Donofrio (KBIC) 906-524-5757,

Source-Water Assessments and Protection Plans, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. In 2001, the USGS completed an assessment for the L'Anse, Michigan, water supply as part of a 5-year cooperative agreement with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community's (KBIC) Zeba Community lies immediately north of L'Anse and is in the same watershed. To fulfill trust obligations, in November 2001, the USGS completed a source-water assessment for the Zeba Community water supply. In 2002, based on the results of the Zeba source-water assessment, KBIC asked USGS to complete an assessment of the ground-water supply at the Kawbawgam Road Community near Marquette, and to prepare source-water protection plans for both the Zeba and Kawbawgam Road Community water supplies. A cooperative agreement was implemented in Fiscal Year 2002 to conduct this work, and an assessment of the Kawbawgam Road supply was completed in September 2002. In Fiscal Year 2003, USGS and KBIC environmental staff completed source-water protection plans for both supplies. Contact: Tom Weaver, 906-786-0714,

Mapping Bottom Substrates in the Lower Bad River and Adjacent Areas of Lake Superior. The USGS Great Lakes Science Center's Lake Superior Biological Station developed an agreement with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians to conduct a benthic mapping survey of the lower two miles of the Bad River and adjacent four miles of lakeshore habitat in Lake Superior. Detailed data on the distribution of depths and bottom substrate composition will be collected in GIS (geographic information system) mapping format and will be used by the Bad River Band to determine the distribution and abundance of suitable spawning and rearing habitat for an indigenous population of lake sturgeon. In Wisconsin, lake sturgeon have been designated as a species of special concern and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service treats lake sturgeon as a Species of Management Concern. Understanding the relation between habitat and the success of lake sturgeon spawning and recruitment will provide Tribal natural resource managers with information needed to protect these areas to enhance recovery of Lake Superior lake sturgeon populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is partnering with USGS to carry out this project for the Bad River Band. Contact: Owen Gorman, 715-682-6163,; Mark Dryer, 715-682-6185,; Tom Doolittle 715-682-7111 (Bad River Band),

Lake Sturgeon Enhancement in Menominee Waters. The Menominee Reservation Lake Sturgeon Enhancement Committee, composed of personnel from the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the USGS, is coordinating ongoing efforts to re-establish lake sturgeon in waters on the Menominee Reservation. These efforts involve evaluating the successes of stocking juvenile and fingerling lake sturgeon in Reservation impoundments and transplanting adult lake sturgeon from the lower Wolf River to the portion of the Wolf River on the Menominee Reservation. USGS fishery biologists at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center provided training and assistance to Menominee employees in the implantation of transmitters into juvenile and adult lake sturgeon near Keshna, Wisconsin. These efforts will help resource managers determine habitat requirements and spawning potential of stocked or transplanted lake sturgeon in Reservation waters. Contact: Brent Knights, 608-781-6332,

Development of an Upstream Fish Ladder for Lake Sturgeon. The USGS in Turners Falls, Massachusetts has been working for several years to develop an effective inexpensive fish ladder for passing lake sturgeon and riverine fishes at low dams on streams in the Great Lakes area. The Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin has provided support for this effort. The research has resulted in the construction of a prototype fish ladder. Extensive testing shows lake sturgeon and many species of riverine fishes pass the ladder successfully, including small mouth bass, large mouth bass, white suckers, channel catfish, walleye, and several species of sunfish. Contact: Leetown Science Center, Boyd Kynard, 413-863-3807,

Ground Water and Water Quality of Lakes and Springs on Lands of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The USGS is delineating the direction of ground-water flow on lands of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The Grand Portage Band will use the information to help them evaluate recharge areas of the Tribal water resources. Land use may particularly affect recharge areas. Contact: Don Hansen, 763-783-3250,

Moose Population Dynamics, Northeastern Minnesota. The USGS is conducting moose research with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and the 1854 Authority (Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Bois Forte Band of Chippewa). The objectives of the study are to determine survival rates of adult moose, causes of mortality, and to improve aerial surveying of the moose population. In March 2003 (year two of the five-year study), 42 moose (21 females, 21 males) were captured and radio-collared, increasing the total number of radioed moose to 60 animals. They were radio-tracked aerially once per week accumulating approximately 1,200 locations. From March through December, 17 of 60 (28%) have died, 13 from natural causes and 4 from human causes. Causes of mortality included truck, train, or natural accidents, hunting, unknown (not predation), and unexamined (natural mortality). Unknown mortalities occurred in April, May, June, August, and December. This information will help the Tribes and the State improve moose management by providing information critical to the long-term welfare of moose in Minnesota. Seventeen additional moose will be captured in Fiscal Year 2004 to add to and replace the study animals that have died. Contact: Michael Nelson, 218-365-4505,

Moose with collar (tagged). Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Moose with collar (tagged). Photo courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Hydrologic and Lake Level Changes, Long Lost Lake, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. Long Lost Lake is a 480-acre land-locked lake, within the boundaries of the White Earth Indian Reservation. The lake is approximately 6 miles west of Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi River, in northwestern Minnesota. The water level (stage) of Long Lost Lake has risen approximately 20 feet since about 1990. Twelve Tribal residences, several roads, and 50 acres of Tribal lands are submerged, and 30 Tribal members have been displaced from their homes. The USGS is working with the Tribe to document historical changes in the stage of Long Lost Lake to determine the cause-and-effect relations that have resulted in increased lake stage, and to develop a general understanding of the hydrology of lakes that experience rapid and dramatic changes in lake stage. Climatological changes and human modifications within the watershed will be considered as potential contributing factors. This study also will develop the monitoring network needed to understand the hydrologic setting and hydrologic budget of the Long Lost Lake and information about the lake's setting relative to other lakes in the area. The study began in Fiscal Year 2002 and is expected to conclude in Fiscal Year 2005. Contact: Don Hansen, 763-783-3250,

Water-Resources Investigation for the Prairie Island Indian Community. The Prairie Island Indian Community and the USGS conducted a bathymetric survey of Sturgeon Lake and collected bottom sediment samples from the lake. The Community is concerned about potential water-quality effects of dredging of the lake for pleasure boat traffic. Contact: Don Hansen, 763-783-3250,

Water-Quality Monitoring of the Missouri River with the Yankton Sioux Tribe. The Missouri River in southeastern South Dakota constitutes the southern boundary of the Yankton Sioux Reservation (YSR) and is a valuable resource to the Yankton Sioux Tribe as well as to the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. Several miles downstream from the western boundary of the YSR, the flow of the Missouri River is impounded by Fort Randall Dam to form Lake Francis Case. Downstream from Fort Randall Dam, the river is free-flowing for several miles until it contacts backwater from Lewis and Clark Lake. Thus, within the YSR boundaries, the Missouri River is both impounded as well as free flowing, which results in a diversity of habitat critical to numerous fish and wildlife species. The USGS continues cooperating with the Yankton Sioux Tribe on a water-quality monitoring program for the Missouri River within the YSR. Water-quality samples are collected six times per year at three different stations. The samples are analyzed for field-measured properties, major ions, nutrients, selected trace elements, and suspended sediment. The monitoring program is intended to be a long-term effort. Contact: Steven Sando, 605-352-4241, ext. 230,

Top: Brian Engle (Hydrologic Technician, USGS, left), Cliff Johnson (Water Quality Coordinator, Yankton Sioux. center), Milton Mallory (Environmental technician Yankton Sioux Tribe, right) on a sampling boat on the Missouri River. Bottom: Brian Engle prepares to decant sample water into a churn splitter while Cliff Johnson secures a second sample bottle into the eater-quality-suspended-sediments sampler. Photos by Dave Hernandez, USGS.

Hydrogeology of the Ogallala and Arikaree Aquifers for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The Ogallala and Arikaree aquifers are important water resources for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and are used extensively for agricultural, municipal, and domestic water supplies. Water-resource tools are needed to evaluate management and environmental issues such as planning for source-water protection, describing potential impacts of contamination, and estimating sustainable aquifer withdrawals. A numerical ground-water flow model of the Ogallala and Arikaree aquifers underlying the Rosebud Reservation has been developed, calibrated, and documented by USGS hydrologists in cooperation with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The model was completed in Fiscal Year 2003. A GIS interface for the model is currently being developed to aid the Tribe in using the model to test the effects of various hydrologic conditions such as drought or increased water use. Contact: Andy Long, 605-355-4560, ext. 237,

Rosebud Total Maximum Daily Load. The USGS and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe are continuing to conduct a water quality assessment in support of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development for the Little White River in Todd County, South Dakota. Historical data have been reviewed and compiled. Project personnel will now concentrate on sampling water-quality to further define conditions of the Little White River and its tributaries and analyzing and modeling selected data. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will use the data and analysis to write a TMDL for the Little White River. Technology transfer, a major part of this project, will aid the Tribe with TMDL development for other streams within its lands. Contact: Joyce Williamson, 605-355-4560, ext. 219,

Well Inventory for Abandoned Wells on Rosebud Lands. Abandoned wells are possible avenues for various surface contaminants to be introduced directly into ground-water systems. Petroleum products and other hazardous wastes have been detected by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in several abandoned wells in Todd County. The Tribe is interested in plugging abandoned wells within the county. A previous well inventory to locate abandoned wells in the vicinity of community supply wells was conducted in Todd County; however, areas surrounding these community supply wells were not visited during that previous study. The current study involves evaluating existing data, inventorying wells in areas that had not been previously visited, and updating information stored in the USGS Ground-Water Site Inventory (GWSI) database relative to abandoned wells. The Tribe will use the results of this study to assist them in providing safe water to their Tribal members and residents. Contact: Kathy Neitzert 605-352-4241,

Potentiometric Map for the Arikaree Aquifer, Pine Ridge Reservation. The USGS in cooperation with the Oglala Sioux Tribe, continues conducting a study to map the potentiometric surface of the Arikaree aquifer. The potentiometric surface is the hydraulic head, or upper surface, of an unconfined aquifer (in other words, the water table) or, on a confined aquifer it is the upper water surface in a well. The aquifer is present near the surface in approximately 80 percent of the Oglala Reservation and is the single largest source of ground water for the Tribe. The objectives of this study are to provide the Oglala Sioux Tribe with a map depicting the potentiometric surface of the Arikaree aquifer and a compilation of well locations and construction information. The map will be used by several Tribal departments and could help identify the best locations for new wells, predict ground-water movement, and assess aquifer vulnerability to contamination. Contact: Allen Heakin, 605-355-4560, ext. 216,

Water Quality on the Lands of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Water quality is a major concern for the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation because creeks on their lands provide sources of subsistence hunting and fishing for Tribal members. Ground water is used in domestic wells on the reservation and is being considered as a source for water supply as the Tribe develops its economic base. Surface water on Tribal lands has been sampled on a quarterly basis since June 1996, and two reports have been published as a result of this monitoring. In 2002, a ground-water component was added to the study and 11 wells completed on the reservation will be sampled on a yearly basis to assess ground-water quality. Tribal personnel assist USGS scientists in collecting and preparing samples for analysis in conjunction with the water-quality aspects of this study. As part of the capacity building, Tribal personnel have also attended training courses at the USGS National Training Center in Denver as well as training with USGS personnel on other water-quality studies in the Kansas District. The study is scheduled to continue through 2004, with a cumulative interpretative report on the water quality of the Potawatomi lands to be released at the conclusion of the study. Contact: Heather Ross Schmidt, 785-832-3575,

Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research Project. USGS scientists are leading the Osage-Skiatook Petroleum Environmental Research (OSPER) Project in which research is being conducted to investigate the transport, fate, and biologic effects of saline produced water and hydrocarbon releases from oil production at two sites on Skiatook Lake, on the Osage Nation. Environmental research began in Fiscal Year 2001 and continued in Fiscal Year 2003 with geologic mapping, drilling of observation wells, geophysical surveys, microbial studies, geochemical sampling of soils, bedrock, and ground and surface waters, plant surveys, and tree-ring dating of trees. This work focuses on the impacts of produced water and hydrocarbon releases from oil production on soils, ground and surface water, and the oak forest and lake ecosystems they support. Skiatook Lake serves as flood control, water supply, and a major recreational fishery in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, metropolitan area. Personnel from the Osage Nation Environmental and Natural Resources Department have participated in the field investigations. The USGS provided training to Osage Nation personnel on surface-water flow measurement and sampling methods. Collaborating partners include the Osage Nation, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), University of Tulsa, Oklahoma State University, and USGS research scientists from Oklahoma, Virginia, Colorado, and California. Initial results from these investigations can be found at Contact: Jim Otton, 303-236-8020,

Availability of Water in Arkansas River Alluvial Aquifer, Osage Nation. The USGS conducted a cooperative project with the Osage Nation that included using direct-push drilling, lithostratigraphic and hydrologic analysis, and water-quality sampling to evaluate the quantity and quality of water in alluvial and terrace aquifers along the Arkansas River in Osage County. Two Native American student hydrologists conducted the sampling for the project under USGS supervision as part of their Master's of Science program requirements for Oklahoma State University in Fiscal Year 2002. They assisted in writing the project report in Fiscal Year 2003. Contact: Marvin M. Abbott, 405-810-4411,

Surface-Water Quality and Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Loading into Skiatook Lake. This USGS project, began in Fiscal Year 2003, is investigating the impact of petroleum production on surface-water quality near Skiatook Lake on the Osage Nation. Hominy Creek was impounded to form Skiatook Lake in 1984 for flood control and recreation. The lake is also used as a water supply for the cities of Sand Springs and Sapulpa. Past water-quality data collected on Hominy Creek have indicated the presence of variable but commonly high concentrations of major ions associated with surface- and ground-water discharges of produced waters. The project's objectives are to determine the general quality of water entering Skiatook Lake and the loads of constituents discharged by Hominy Creek and Wildhorse Creek into Skiatook Lake. As part of this project, the USGS helped the Osage Nation build their Tribal capabilities by installing a surface-water and water- quality monitoring station and by training Osage Nation staff to make discharge measurements and conduct water-quality sampling. Contact: Kelli DeHay, 918-254-6651,

Ground-Water-Quality Monitoring for the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. Brine is a byproduct of crude oil production. Handling and disposal of brine during the last 50 years in the East Poplar oil field has resulted in contamination of not only the shallow Quaternary aquifers, but also the Poplar River. Previous investigations have documented and delineated part of the extent of brine contamination in the East Poplar oil field during the early 1990's. Several studies identified more than 12 square miles of saline-water (brine) contamination in the East Poplar oil field. In the 10 years since the last study, the entire extent of contamination may have increased. The brine plume is migrating toward the nearby city of Poplar, Montana, which relies on the shallow Quaternary aquifers as its sole source of water. The objective of the project is to delineate brine contamination in the Quaternary aquifers in and near the East Poplar oil field. The project area includes the entire East Poplar oil field and extends south to include the city of Poplar. This project will provide the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes with an updated delineation of brine contamination in the shallow Quaternary aquifers in and near the East Poplar oil field. The project will also enable the Tribes to determine more effective remediation of brine contamination within the oil field and provide the information that the Tribes need to evaluate the threat to the city of Poplar's water supply. Contact: Joanna Thamke, 406-457-5900,

Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project. The USGS in cooperation with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, the Blackfeet Nation, and Federal and State agencies, is continuing a multi-year research project to determine the number of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem of the United States through non-invasive measures. This project, requested by the Governor of Montana and supported by Senator Burns (MT), is designed to produce a scientifically valid estimate of the size of the grizzly bear population for the entire ecosystem.

Map: Jeffrey Stetz, USGS

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The immense study area encompasses 7.9 million acres, which extends from the Salish–Kootenai lands in the west to the Blackfeet Reservation lands in the east and from the Canadian border in the north to Montana Highway 200 in the south. Much of the project is on Tribal lands, and tribal participation contributed to a successful and productive preliminary 2003 field season. Representatives from both Tribal governments have been actively involved in all stages of the planning process and will serve as project sub-area leaders. Contact: Kate Kendall, 406-888-7994,; Dale Becker (Salish-Kootenai), 406-675-2700, ext. 1278,; Dan Carney (Blackfeet), 406-338-2430,

Flood Frequency at Gaged and Ungaged Sites in Montana. Reliable flood-frequency information for streams is essential for design and operation of various water-control structures such as dams, levees, and water-supply systems. In addition, reliable flood-frequency data are required for proper design of stream-crossing transportation structures, such as bridges and culverts, and for identification of flood prone areas for land use management and flood insurance purposes. The USGS conducted a study in cooperation with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, BIA, and State and Federal agencies. Its purpose was to update flood-frequency information for all gaged sites in Montana that have at least a 10-year record of unregulated flow record. Project personnel used the updated flood-frequency information, together with geomorphic and climatic data compiled at each gaged sites, to develop regional regression equations and a region-of influence computer model for the estimation of flood-frequency at ungaged sites, as well as a Web-based program to help users apply the estimation methods at ungaged sites. This project was completed in Fiscal Year 2003 with publication of a Water Resources Investigations report (WRIR 03–4308) entitled, "Methods for Estimating Flood Frequency in Montana Based on data Through Water Year 1998." Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-457-5900,

Hydraulic Characteristics and Flood-Limit Delineation of the Jocko River on Part of the Flathead Reservation. The objective of this cooperative project is to delineate the flood limits and hydraulic floodway for 100- and 500-year events for a 20-mile reach of the Jocko River from near Arlee, Montana, to the river's mouth near Dixon on the Flathead Reservation of the Confederated Salish and Kootanai Tribes. USGS hydrologists surveyed channel-geometry (cross-section) data for the Jocko River and are using the data in a hydraulic model to calculate water-surface profiles and other hydraulic parameters such as flow area, conveyance, flow widths, mean flow depths, and velocities. The hydraulic data will be used to delineate the flood plain and floodway. Determination of hydraulic characteristics is a prerequisite to the delineation of flood limits and a hydraulic floodway for the 100-year flood. The 100-year flood is commonly used as a regulatory flood for flood-plain management and flood insurance purposes. Adoption of flood-plain management regulations for the Jocko River would enable land-use and fishery managers for the Salish and Kootenai Tribes to better plan and guide future development to minimize riverine impacts and would also enable citizens to purchase subsidized flood insurance. Contact: Charles Parrett, 406-457-5928,

Cooperative Field Work with the Chippewa Cree Tribe. Members of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation participated in a USGS workshop on water-sampling techniques in Fiscal Year 2002. In Fiscal Year 2003, personnel from the Tribe's Water Resources Department increased their proficiency and developed additional expertise as they accompanied USGS staff in the field on a regular basis. The teams made routine measurements of stage and discharge at several streamflow-monitoring stations located on the Rocky Boy's Reservation. Contact: Norman Midtlyng, 406-457-5900,

Tribal members measuring streamflow on Beaver Creek at reservation boundary near Rocky Boy, Montana.
Tribal members measuring streamflow on Beaver Creek at reservation boundary near Rocky Boy, Montana. (Photo credit: Norm Midtlyng, USGS)

Monitoring Ground Water in Potential Coal-Bed Methane Zones, Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Coal-bed methane (CBM) has a large potential for development in southeastern Montana and on Native lands. In order to release methane from the coal beds, large amounts of ground water must be withdrawn from the coal beds. On the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, many of the coal beds are important sources of water for stock watering and domestic supply. The same ground-water sources could be developed for CBM in areas near the Reservation. In Fiscal Year 2002, the USGS, in cooperation with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, installed six observation wells in the coal beds. The wells will be used to monitor changes in water quality and water levels as CBM development proceeds near the Reservation boundary. In a related effort, the USGS, in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, analyzed cores collected during the observation well drilling for gas content. In Fiscal Year 2003, the USGS worked with the Tribe to monitor water levels monthly in the four of the observation wells and operated water-level recorders in the remaining two wells. As a result of these efforts, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe will have additional data to manage and protect their natural resources. Contact: Mike Cannon, 406-457-5900,; Jason Whiteman (Northern Cheyenne Tribe) 406-477-6503

USGS Assists BIA and Native American Tribes with Endangered Species Training. In May 2003, a research ecologist at the USGS assisted the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) with a training session in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on techniques for surveying endangered southwestern willow flycatchers. Biologists from more than a dozen southwestern Tribes and Pueblos participated in the training. The USGS scientist presented information on the status, distribution, ecology, and habitat use of the bird, and led a morning field trip to known southwestern willow flycatcher breeding sites along the Rio Grande. Contact: Mark Sogge, 928-556-7194,

Mapping Exotic Plants in the Southwest. In conjunction with land managers, biologists at the USGS are developing a database on exotic plants in the Southwest. The database is an important regional tool for inventorying, monitoring, and sharing data on exotic (non-native) plant species that are invading the area. USGS scientists are gathering data on the plants and compiling it according to Federal standards. The database can also be used to generate maps of locations of the plants. The goals of this effort include developing and maintaining the Southwest Exotics Plant Database, maintaining a distribution system that integrates educational, management, and scientific information to aid in control of the exotic plant species, and facilitating a collaborative partnership among Tribal, Federal, State, and private land managers. The database is available on the Southwest Exotic Plant Information Clearinghouse (SWEPIC) web site ( and, as such, the data and the SWEPIC information are freely available to Tribal members. Contact: Kathryn Thomas, 520-556-7327, ext. 235,

Geologic Framework of Rio Grande Basins, New Mexico. The USGS is conducting geologic and geophysical studies to provide a framework for understanding aquifers in several critical ground-water basins along the Rio Grande, which extends from Colorado to Mexico. The current focus of this project is the Española ground-water basin in the greater Santa Fe, New Mexico, region, which includes lands belonging to the Pueblos of Cochiti, Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque, San Ildefonso, San Juan, and Santa Clara. The project is developing a better understanding of the three-dimensional form of the ground-water basin to improve the understanding of ground-water flow and resources. The project includes geologic mapping in cooperation with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and the University of New Mexico; geophysical mapping of the subsurface in cooperation with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Summer of Applied Geophysics Experience educational program; investigations into how faults affect the aquifer system; and studies of geologic history to predict the distribution of underground aquifers. Geologic and geophysical maps in the basin provide the Pueblos with information that aids in ground-water protection and assessment of water and other natural resources. Contact: Mark Hudson, 303-236-7446,; Tien Grauch, 303-236-1393,

Seismological Laboratory Facility Serving the World from the Pueblo of Isleta. The USGS recently signed a 5-year lease with the Pueblo of Isleta. The lease is for use of all buildings and facilities of the original USGS Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory (ASL), including seismometer test tunnels and boreholes, on Isleta lands, south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The ASL has used these facilities, known as the ASL–Isleta site, since 1961 as a global network maintenance center, data-collection center, and for low-noise testing of modern seismic instruments in support of global seismograph networks used for monitoring seismic activity worldwide. USGS will continue to use the site for all of these purposes during the term of this lease. ASL's mission includes operation and maintenance of 91 seismic stations of the Global Seismograph Network (GSN) in 60 countries and the installation, operation, and maintenance of 35 Advanced National Seismic System/USArray seismic stations in the U.S. that are part of the National Science Foundation-funded Earthscope Project. The site on the Pueblo of Isleta is notable for its low seismic noise characteristics. Seismic equipment manufacturers want their instruments to be tested here as a key step in qualifying the instruments for use in seismic networks. The USGS/ASL also operates a standard GSN station at this location; one of 128 such stations operating worldwide in more than 80 countries and islands. Data received in real time and on tapes mailed from the GSN stations support earthquake monitoring and research at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center and the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), tsunami warning efforts by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and monitoring efforts for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The Pueblo of Isleta and the general public receive occasional educational talks and presentations on how the seismic equipment functions for monitoring earthquakes. The USGS is grateful to the Pueblo of Isleta for permitting this globally significant scientific endeavor on their lands. Contact: Charles R. (Bob) Hutt, 505-846-5649, Additional information: Live Seismograms:

Inventory of Vascular Plants and Vertebrate Animals. In collaboration with the biologists from the Navajo Nation and other Tribes and partner agencies, USGS scientists are conducting a comprehensive inventory of vascular plants and vertebrate animals in 10 National Parks and National Monuments within and adjacent to Tribal lands. Inventory objectives are to document overall species diversity, collect data on distribution and abundance of rare species, and identify non-native, weedy species. Canyon de Chelly National Monument (NM), Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, and Navajo National Monument include lands of the Navajo Nation. Grand Canyon National Park (NP) shares boundaries with Havasupai and Hualapai Tribal lands, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge <NM>, and Wupatki <NM> are all adjacent to Navajo Nation lands. Mesa Verde NP abuts the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, and Bandelier NM is adjacent to the San Ildefonso Reservation. The USGS, National Park Service, and Tribal cooperators have completed vegetation surveys at Canyon de Chelly and Navajo NMs. Amphibian, reptile, and mammal surveys are currently being conducted at Mesa Verde and Yucca House NM. Bird and mammal surveys are currently underway at Canyon de Chelly, Hubbell Trading Post, and Navajo NMs. The southwest has been experiencing severe drought, and effects of this drought are evident in all aspects of the inventory. However, these studies still provide insights into the range of conditions seen in this part of the west, and distribution and population levels of a wide range of species under drought conditions. Haskell Indian Nations University students have assisted with various aspects of the work, including mapping and vegetation description. The studies provide students with hands-on experience in field research and technologies such as geographic information systems. Contact: Charles Drost, 928-556-7187,

Geo-Ecological Studies of Land Use, Climate Change, and Landscape Vulnerability on the Navajo Nation. USGS geologists, ecologists, and geochemists are working with archaeologists and educators of the Navajo Nation to establish relations of land use and climate change to changes in the land surface, such as stream erosion, sedimentation, flooding, the distribution of native and invasive plants, and the availability and quality of water. This information will be provided to Navajo communities and schools, so that land-use planning and water resources can be developed based on the knowledge of land-use impacts. Evaluating the present mobility of sand dunes is important for determining potential impacts of climatic variation on grazing and farming resources, native plants, air quality, damage to infrastructure, and health-related impacts from dust storms. USGS has completed a map of sand dune deposits, covering one-third of the Navajo Nation, combined with climate information in a geographic information system (GIS), has been completed as part of ongoing USGS work. When used with equations for climatic factors, the map may be used to predict the potential for sand dune mobilization. Although the Navajo Nation has an overall moisture deficit, there has been enough moisture to support stabilizing vegetation, though only marginally in some areas. Given current severe drought conditions, the soil moisture balance is diminishing. In another part of this project, USGS researchers developed a list of prospective plant species occurring in the Tsezhin bii' area of the Navajo Nation, using literature and herbarium samples. Field sampling was conducted to obtain plant community occurrence data to assist with developing a vegetation map for the Tsezhin bii' area. Also, digital maps of physical parameters for the area, including elevation and elevation derived slope and aspect, geology, and dune location, were processed to develop a biophysical framework for more detailed field sampling to be conducted in the spring of Fiscal Year 2004. Sampling protocols for detailed measurement of vegetation on sand dunes and sand sheets were developed in the fall of Fiscal Year 2003 and will be implemented using the biophysical framework in the spring of Fiscal Year 2004. See and Contact: Margaret Hiza, 928-556-7366,; Kathryn Thomas (vegetation studies), 928-556-7327,

Native Concerns About Ground-Water in the Black Mesa Area. The N aquifer is the most heavily used aquifer for water supplying people of both the Hopi Tribe and the Navajo Nation in the Black Mesa area. Both Tribal governments are concerned that increasing withdrawals of water from the N aquifer to slurry Black Mesa coal will cause excessive declines in water levels and/or will cause poor-quality water from the overlying D aquifer to infiltrate into the N aquifer. (The D aquifer overlies the N aquifer in the Black Mesa area.) The USGS completed a study that characterizes the ground-water geochemistry of the D aquifer through the use of naturally occurring inorganic constituents and stable and radio isotopes. Results indicate that the ground water is 4,000 to 40,000 years old, evolving from a calcium-magnesium to a sodium-potassium carbonate type water. Infiltration between the D and N aquifers has been occurring for thousands of years. The area of highest infiltration is in the southeastern part of the study area where the N aquifer is thin, the hydraulic gradient is small, and the vertical head difference (water pressure differential) between the D and the N aquifers is small. Strontium ratios for 87Sr were used to identify areas where infiltration is occurring. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2004, the Carmel Formation, which forms the geological layer separating the N and D aquifers, will be studied to develop a better understanding of its regional extent and composition. This information will help identify how and where leakage of ground water can occur between the D and N aquifers. Water users in the Black Mesa area, including the Hopi and Navajo, will use the results of these studies to make informed decisions on how best to manage available water resources. Contact: Margot Truini, 520-556-7352,

Navajo Nation and USGS Sign Official Approval for Human Health/Coal Research. The Navajo Nation gave their official approval to the USGS to conduct a research project "Relationship of Indoor and Ambient Air Quality to Respiratory Diseases in the Navajo Nation." Groups participating in negotiating the agreement and expected to participate in the future research include the USGS, the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, the Navajo Nation Department of Health, Diné College, the Indian Health Service, the Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation, the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department, and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. Funding to support Navajo collaborators on the project has been secured from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Control (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). This research project is particularly critical because it will examine connections between residential and industrial coal usage by Navajo people and health issues. Results of the study will provide information that will assist the Navajo Nation in developing their policies and practices to improve healthful use of this energy source. Contact: Joe Bunnell, 703-648-6497,

Parasites of Native and Non-Native Fishes in the Lower Little Colorado River. Scientists from the USGS studied parasites in fishes in the lower 21 kilometers of the Little Colorado River, Grand Canyon, Arizona, an area administered by the Navajo Natural Heritage Program (Navajo Nation) and the National Park Service (Grand Canyon National Park). Fish populations were sampled by the USGS in Fiscal Year 2000 and Fiscal Year 2001. In Fiscal Year 2001, a total of 1,235 fish representing 11 species (all 4 native species and 7 non-native species) were captured and examined for internal parasites. Results from both years indicate that between 50-60 percent of the endangered humpback chub (Gila cypha) were infected with the Asian tapeworm (Bothriocephalus acheilognathi). Such infections can cause disease and retard growth. The disease could be severe enough to cause mortality. A reduced growth rate could increase the time that fish are susceptible to predation and also cause the fish to be small when they enter the main stem of the Colorado River during monsoon season. Smaller fish do not survive as well as larger fish in the cold waters of the main stem. In addition, zooplankton (critical to tapeworm transmission) were collected, identified, and counted. Temperature was monitored in various tributaries of the Little Colorado River to evaluate environmental conditions involved in the transmission of the tapeworm. Laboratory infections of bony-tailed chub, a surrogate for the endangered humpback chub, were initiated in Fiscal Year 2001 and in December 2003. These experiments were designed to assess the impact of the Asian fish tapeworm on fish growth, body condition, and ability to withstand thermal stress. The results indicate that the tapeworm did affect growth, causing infected fish to grow more slowly. In some experiments with fish that were fed a ration of 0.5 percent body weight, 24 percent of exposed fish died as compared to 5 percent unexposed fish. Other parameters such as body condition and affects of thermal stress were not significantly different in the laboratory-infected fish than in the control fish. Contact: Rebecca Cole, 608-270-2468,

Vegetation Surveys on Native Lands. USGS scientists conducted vegetation surveys on the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribal lands, and the Gila River Indian Community in Fiscal Year 2003. As part of the Southwest Regional GAP Analysis regional conservation assessment of biota, a land cover map of the southwest is being developed. The USGS vegetation team is developing the land cover map products for most of Arizona and some surrounding areas. Results and products of the studies will be shared with Tribal governments. The draft land-cover maps will be completed in the spring of 2004, and the gap analysis reporting of conservation protection in the southwest, including on Tribal lands, should be completed late spring 2005. Contact: Kathryn Thomas, 928-556-7327,

Vegetation Mapping at Canyon de Chelly National Park. In late Fiscal Year 2003, the USGS initiated vegetation mapping at Canyon De Chelly National Park within the Navajo Nation. The project will describe, classify, and map vegetation within the park, using the U.S. National Vegetation Classification. Current aerial photography will be photo-interpreted and field plots will be sampled to inform the development of the vegetation classification and map. An initial meeting was held at the park to discuss the scope of the project, work schedules, and issues involved with this particular landscape. Contact: Kathryn Thomas, 928-556-7327,

Land Cover Change and Drought Effects on Tribal Lands in Northern Arizona. The evaluation of changes in land cover resources on Tribal lands in Northern Arizona over an extended study period is imperative to developing ecosystem management plans that use historic and current data to support wise use of the resources. The effects of human impacts, grazing density, drought conditions, and range recoverability are critical to the analysis of these data. During Fiscal Year 2003, USGS geographers acquired Landsat thematic mapper (TM) imagery of Navajo and Hopi lands. The images were taken, by satellite, from 1984 (earliest valid TM data), 1993 (a very wet year), and 2002 (a drought year). From these data, various digital products were produced to give visual indication of land cover changes during the last 18 years. In Fiscal Year 2004, 2003 TM data and pre-1977 satellite data will be acquired to create additional digital products to add to the previously collected data. Precipitation received through May of 2003 indicated that already the State of Arizona had received as much precipitation as during the entire year of 2002, so 2003 imagery will likely give additional information on range recoverability. Removal of cattle began on these Hopi and Navajo lands during 1977, so having satellite imagery prior to this occurrence will provide a benchmark of part of the landscape where grazing used to occur. A complete analysis of all products will document changes to the Native lands due to human impact, prolonged grazing, fluctuating precipitation levels, and their effects on range recoverability. Contact: Jana Ruhlman, 928-556-7111,

Terrestrial Monitoring. The USGS is leading a project in Grand Canyon National Park to monitor and evaluate the effects of water releases from Glen Canyon Dam on terrestrial resources. The Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, and the Southern Paiute Consortium have been participating in this project since Fiscal Year 2002, by providing input to USGS biologists about resources of traditional concern to the Tribes and by participating in field monitoring activities. Fiscal Year 2003 was the third and final year of the field component of the project; in Fiscal Year 2004, the Tribes will assist in evaluating the information from their respective cultural perspectives. Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni have been invited to participate in the data analysis phase of the project in Fiscal Year 2004. Contact: Helen Fairley, 928-556-7285,

Geoenvironmental Effects of Glen Canyon Dam. Glen Canyon Dam has affected the environment in Grand Canyon. The USGS is collaborating with other researchers to provide information for policy decisions concerning the management of water flow from Glen Canyon Dam. Under the post-dam flow regime, which limits floods and impounds sediment, sandbars have degraded, campsites and riparian habitat have been lost, and species have become endangered. Congress passed the Grand Canyon Protection Act, requiring the Bureau of Reclamation to alter discharge from the dam to enhance the environment downstream in Grand Canyon National Park. Representatives of seven Tribes and Pueblos (Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Navajo, San Juan Southern Paiute, Southern Paiute Consortium, and Zuni) are among more than two dozen stakeholders who participate in the Adaptive Management Program or who regularly receive reports on the progress of this project. USGS scientists are interpreting sedimentary structures to provide explanations for sediment transport, particularly for use in determining sediment transport prior to the dam, and developing new approaches to sediment-transport modeling. Contact: David Rubin, 831-459-3156,

Hydrogeologic Studies Near Pipe Spring National Monument and Lands of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. Water resources are very limited near Pipe Spring National Monument and the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Reservation. Residents in the vicinity of the monument, Tribal members, and the local Arizona communities of Fredonia and Moccasin must share the limited water supply. A three-year project began in Fiscal Year 2002, with USGS scientists conducting geologic mapping and seismic imaging of the subsurface near and on Pipe Spring National Monument west of Fredonia, Arizona, and the surrounding lands belonging to the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. The mapping includes four USGS 7.5' quadrangles and encompasses the western two-thirds of the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation. This USGS project is being conducted in association with the National Park Service and in cooperation with the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. The geologic map will be published in Fiscal Year 2004. The results of USGS geologic and hydrogeologic interpretations of the geologic mapping and seismic profiles will be used as the basis for possible additional studies. The purpose of this research is to provide the diverse land mangers with information on the implications of ground-water use and availability in this area. Contact: George Billingsley, 928-556-7198, or Robert Hart, 928-556-7137,; Margot Truini, 928-556-7352,

Geologic Mapping of the Eastern Grand Canyon. The USGS and the National Park Service began a study in 2003 to improve understanding of the surficial and underground water resources of the eastern part of Grand Canyon National Park and adjacent Navajo lands. This project encompasses an area of about 2,000 square miles. The three-year project is being conducted with cooperation of the Cameron Chapter House in the southwestern part of the Navajo Nation. Contact: George Billingsley, 928-556-7198,, or Sue Priest, 928-556-7148,

Hydrogeologic Study of the upper and middle Verde River Watershed, Arizona. The population of Yavapai County, Arizona, is growing rapidly, resulting in an increased demand on water resources in the upper and middle Verde River watershed. The watershed contains a thriving riparian zone and is the primary water supply for the county, as well as for large populations further downstream, including the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. The hydrogeologic system in the watershed has not been comprehensively studied, and the effects of historic and present development on regional water resources are poorly understood. Beginning in 2001, this study was funded by the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee to improve hydrologic and geologic information upon which water resource decisions will be based. This effort used geophysical and geologic methods to better define the geometry of and internal structures in the basins and the composition and architecture of the basin fill. This study is augmenting a larger investigation supported by the State of Arizona. As part of both investigations, USGS personnel operate a microgravity network to measure changes in ground-water storage. Precipitation and streamflow data are being collected from new rain gages and a new stream gage on a tributary to Big Chino Wash. USGS scientists are collecting and analyzing ground-water samples to help delineate ground-water flow paths, and are conducting surface resistivity surveys to delineate the thickness and extent of alluvial sediments in selected reaches of the Verde River. All of these investigations will produce data that can be directly used in a numerical hydrogeologic model of the system, providing critical information to water managers and users. Contact: Victoria Langenheim, 650-329-5313,, or John Hoffman, 520-670-6671,ext. 265,

Ground Water and Surface Water, Colony Wash Watershed, Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation, Maricopa County, Arizona. The Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation has several concerns regarding the quality of water flowing onto their lands. Samples collected from previous USGS/Fort McDowell cooperative projects indicate the presence of high levels of dissolved solids and contaminants at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water-quality standards. Analyses also detected low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pesticides. The Fiscal Year 2003 USGS/Fort McDowell monitoring project monitored the chemical composition and quality of ground and surface water flowing through Colony Wash as well as aquifer responses to various upstream influences within the Colony Wash watershed. This work augmented a long-term hydrologic (water quality and water level) database that can be used to evaluate the aquifer over time. During this monitoring program, streamflow samples were collected when conditions permitted and shallow ground-water samples were collected quarterly from existing monitor wells during dry periods. Samples were analyzed for nutrients, major and trace ions, trace metals, VOCs, and pesticides. Water-level changes with time and in response to surface flows were monitored using pressure transducers installed in several of the shallow wells. Modified temperature sensors (conductance probes) were also used at several locations within Colony Wash to detect the presence, duration, and extent of ephemeral surface flows. This was the final phase of this project. Contact: John Hoffmann, 520-670-6671, ext. 265;, or Christie O’Day, 480-736-1093, ext. 224,

Copper Mines and Ground Water. Ground-water withdrawals associated with two new copper mines proposed for southern Arizona have the potential to affect existing water rights and water supplies of the area. At the request of the Secretary of the Interior, USGS hydrologists in Arizona worked with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and other parties to develop a plan to monitor impacts to the ground-water system caused by mine-related pumping. The proposed project could affect the claims to water of the Gila River Indian Community and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, for whom the Federal government has trust responsibilities. In 2003, USGS scientists reviewed selected sections of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Final EIS was published in December 2003 and the BLM is expected to issue a Record of Decision in early 2004. The final EIS calls for the USGS to play a long-term role in the project by providing quality control on the hydrologic data collected as part of the ground-water monitoring plan. The USGS scientists will collect a limited amount of data and will also provide a web page for the project to facilitate public access to the data. Contact: James G. Brown, 520-670-6671, ext. 280,, or Bruce Gungle, 520-670-6671 ext. 233,

Coeur d'Alene Tribe National Map Implementation and Wildfire Mitigation Application. Coeur d'Alene employees are cooperating with USGS staff to improve the Tribe's wildfire management capabilities and to enhance the data available to all people involved in wildfire mitigation. USGS specialists in The National Map data integration and viewer implementation will work with GIS experts at the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to implement The National Map over Tribal lands using data created by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, in combination with additional Federal, State, and County data. The Tribe supported the Fiscal Year 2002 Washington/Idaho National Map pilot by providing their own regional hydrography data set. Remote sensing experts from EROS Data Center will introduce Tribal personnel to the Landfire methodology for fire fuels modeling. A plan will be developed to secure and/or create layers, principally a forest fuels layer, required of various wildfire behavior modeling software packages. Ultimately, Tribal personnel will be fully trained to develop the required data and apply the wildfire behavior models to predict and mitigate wildfire hazards. The resultant fire behavior model data will be served from the Tribe's website and from The National Map for use by other fire protection organizations in the area. The techniques can be transferred to other Tribes in the region in the future. Contact: Tracy Fuller, 208-387-1351,, Eric Wood, 605-594-6068,, or Frank Roberts, 208-686-5307,

White Sturgeon Habitat Simulations to Assess the Feasibility of Enhancing Spawning Substrate in the Kootenai River. In 1999, the USGS in cooperation with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, began examining Kootenai River white sturgeon spawning habitat. Ultimately, the results of this project will be used by the Kootenai Tribe and others to evaluate the feasibility of various recovery actions on improving substrate conditions in Kootenai River white sturgeon spawning areas. The Kootenai River Sub-Basin is an international watershed that encompasses parts of British Columbia (Canada), Montana, and Idaho, making the river the second largest tributary to the Columbia River. During the last 80 years, the hydraulic, sediment transport, and substrate characteristics of the Kootenai River have been altered as a result of the construction of Libby Dam, dike construction, and wetlands drainage. The operation of Libby Dam has altered the river ecosystem, resulting in the decline of resident fish populations including the Kootenai River white sturgeon (listed as an endangered species in 1994) and burbot. One limitation to white sturgeon spawning success may be the change from the natural fluctuations in flow and sedimentation in sturgeon spawning areas resulting from the operation of the dam. During Fiscal Year 2003, USGS scientists completed surveying the bathymetry and levees of the Kootenai River from Libby Dam, Montana, to Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, including the white sturgeon spawning reach along the Kootenai Tribal Lands in Idaho. In the summer of 2003, the USGS staff finished collecting suspended-sediment samples from the river's water column at the upstream and downstream extents of the spawning reach. Sediment samples from the riverbed also were collected from the upstream end of the spawning reach. Acoustic doppler current profiling equipment was used to characterize the river's streamflow velocity structure throughout the spawning reach. These data are being used in calibrating one-dimensional and multidimensional digital models that simulate streamflow and sediment transport. These models, now being constructed, will be used to simulate streamflow velocity structure and sedimentation under various flow regimes. The results will be used in evaluating the feasibility of various recovery actions to improve substrate conditions in sturgeon spawning areas. The USGS has written a report for the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho entitled, "Characterization of channel substrate, and changes in suspended sediment transport and channel geometry that may have affected white sturgeon spawning habitat in the Kootenai River near Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, flowing the closure of Libby Dam." This report is based, in part, on 30 kilometers of seismic sub-bottom profiles (including the spawning reach); 3.5 meter-long cores of riverbed sediments at 30 locations in the spawning reach, and; suspended-sediment samples from the river. Contact: Gary Barton, 253-428-3600, ext. 2613,

White Sturgeon Restoration in the Middle Snake River. The USGS provided technical expertise to the Nez Perce Tribe during the development of a management plan for white sturgeon in the lower middle Snake River. The Nez Perce fishery biologists requested USGS participation in several meetings where discussions centered on whether an Ecosystem Diagnosis and Template analysis or simpler Biological Risk Assessment was warranted for fishery management actions proposed for this reach of the river. USGS expertise in sturgeon biology and familiarity with published sturgeon research assisted the Nez Perce in formulating a request for proposals to conduct a Biological Risk Assessment. Contact: James H. Petersen, 509-538-2299,

Cui-ui in Pyramid Lake, Nevada. The cui-ui is an endangered fish of the sucker family that is found only in Pyramid Lake, Nevada. The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and other Northern Paiutes historically relied upon annual spawning runs of cui-ui for food. Because the Tribe controls use of Pyramid Lake and fully supports efforts to restore the cui-ui population, the Tribal Council has passed resolutions prohibiting harvest of cui-ui by non-Indians and Tribal members. The USGS is continuing studies of the population dynamics and reports results to the Tribal Chairman. Adult cui-ui are netted at the south end of Pyramid Lake in the spring and are marked to determine the mortality rate. Fish are recaptured in the fall at selected stations around the lake to determine juvenile population size and estimate mortality over the summer. Contact:Gary Scoppettone, 702-784-5451,

Fallon Basalt Aquifer. The Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, the U.S. Navy, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Nevada Division of Water Resources are cooperating with the USGS on a study to better define sources of water, controls on its use, and the water quality in the Fallon Basalt Aquifer. This aquifer is the sole source of drinking water for the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, the City of Fallon, and the Fallon Naval Air Station. All parties are concerned about the quality and availability of the water resource. The Fallon Tribe is contributing data and funding to the project and is providing access to Tribal lands for this study. Work on the Fallon Basalt Aquifer study is progressing, with a report on in-situ arsenic treatment recently published as a book chapter, "In Situ Arsenic Remediation in a Fractured, Alkaline Aquifer," by Alan H. Welch, Kenneth G Stollenwerk, Douglas K. Maurer, and Lawrence S. Feinson, in a book titled "Arsenic in Ground Water, Geochemistry and Occurrence," Alan H. Welch and Kenneth G. Stollenwerk, eds., Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 2003. A report summarizing work on the potential for conjunctive use in the basalt aquifer should be published in Fiscal Year 2004. That report discusses potential geochemical reactions from injection of surface water into the basalt aquifer. A new study has begun to determine the potential for formation of chlorination by products from injection of treated surface water into the basalt aquifer. A summary of the results of USGS chlorination by products work is expected to be published as a USGS Fact Sheet in 2004. In addition, work to characterize the basalt aquifer by drilling deep test holes is continuing. Four holes have been drilled, with the final, fifth hole to be completed at a later time. Available data will be compiled in a report summarizing the deep test drilling. Remaining work includes developing a numerical ground-water flow model and a final report. Contact: Douglas Maurer, 775-887-7631,

Fighting Northwest Fish Disease is a Cooperative Effort. The USGS is assisting the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission as well as State and Federal fisheries managers with efforts to reduce the effects of bacterial coldwater disease, a major disease affecting juvenile salmon and trout in Tribal as well as State, Federal and private sector facilities. The USGS hosted two workshops and began a small research project to improve the diagnostic methods for the disease. With the leadership of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, USGS scientists are hoping to collaborate on a project involving fish health researchers at Tribal, State, Federal, private sector and university facilities, if funding support can be found. Contact: James Winton, 206-526-6587,

Transport and Fate of Bacteria and Nitrate in Ground Water, Lower Nooksack River Basin. The Nooksack Indian Nation wants to improve their understanding of the fate and transport of fecal coliform and nitrate contaminants as the contaminants move from agricultural fields to the ground-water system and eventually to surface-water systems in the lower Nooksack River Basin. Additional information about the extent of denitrification is also needed to provide realistic constraints on water-quality models that are used to make water-resource management decisions. In Fiscal Year 2002, USGS scientists began studying the interaction between surface water and ground water in the shallow aquifer of the lower Nooksack River Basin. Stream locations where ground- and surface-water exchanges occur have been identified. A network of stations was used intermittently during Fiscal Year 2003 to monitor the hydraulic gradient between ground water and surface water. Ground water and surface water have been sampled and analyzed for concentrations of E.coli bacteria, a suite of nutrients, and other constituents related to ground-water denitrification. A laboratory microcosm experiment was conducted to evaluate the attenuation rate of E.coli in stream sediments from Fishtrap Creek. Ground- and surface-water samples will be collected over the course of a storm during Fiscal Year 2004. Contact: Steve Cox, 253-428-3600 ext. 2623,

Shallow and Airborne Trace Metal Concentrations from Lake Roosevelt. Lake Roosevelt is a cultural and economic resource for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Mining waste and other upstream activities have contaminated the lake, leading to concerns about the contamination affects on human health. The Colville Tribes want to know more about the potential threat to human health of trace metals in exposed bottom sediment from Lake Roosevelt. Lake Roosevelt is a 125-mile-long reservoir in eastern Washington State that extends from Grand Coulee Dam to near the Canadian border where the Columbia River is free flowing. During periods when the water level of the reservoir is lowered, large areas of contaminated sediment are exposed. Upon drying, the fine-grained portion of these sediments, including trace metals, becomes airborne due to high winds and can be inhaled by area residents and visitors. USGS scientists have studied two different, though related, aspects of the potential human health issues involving trace metals in fine-grained sediments: the sediment itself, prior to disturbance, and the airborne characteristics of these sediments. Sediment samples were collected to determine the concentrations of trace metals in the fine-grained sediment exposed during the spring 2001 drawdown. The results of the sediment study were published in USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 03–4170 entitled, "Concentrations and Distribution of Slag-Related Trace Elements and Mercury in Fine-Grained Beach and Bed Sediments of Lake Roosevelt, Washington, April–May, 2001" (Majewski and others, 2003). Once airborne, the dust particles can be carried downwind various distances depending on their size and the magnitude and duration of the prevailing winds throughout the Lake Roosevelt airshed. During Fiscal Year 2003, USGS scientists continued monitoring air quality at several locations along Lake Roosevelt to determine the occurrence, concentrations, distribution, and seasonal variability of selected trace elements on airborne dust particles, and, to the extent possible, the fraction of airborne trace elements originating from exposed lakebed sediments. This work will continue through Fiscal Year 2004. Contact: Sue Kahle, 253-428-3600, ext. 2616,

Trace-Element Concentrations in Sediment Cores and Rates of Sediment Accumulation in Lake Roosevelt. Lake Roosevelt is a cultural and economic resource for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Mining waste and other upstream activities have contaminated the lake, leading to concerns about the contamination effects on human health. Other aspects of the contamination have been studied, but very little is known about trace-element concentrations below the sediment surface. Information is also lacking about the presence and distribution of smelter-produced slag particles in the middle and lower reaches of Lake Roosevelt. In Fiscal Year 2002, USGS scientists began a study in cooperation with the Colville Tribes to gather and analyze data to better understand the three-dimensional extent of trace-element contamination of the bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt. Six sediment cores were collected in slack-water sections of the reservoir. During Fiscal Year 2003, selected intervals from the cores were analyzed for concentrations of selected trace elements, including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc. The samples were also age-dated. Slag particles identified in some of the core samples have been examined with a scanning electron microscope and a dispersive X-ray spectrometer. Sampling results were analyzed in Fiscal Year 2003 and will be published during Fiscal Year 2004. Contact: Steve Cox, 253-428-3600 ext. 2623,

White Sturgeon Restoration in the Columbia River. USGS fishery biologists are participating with the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission fishery biologists in an effort to restore declining white sturgeon populations in the Columbia River basin. Restoration of this species is especially important because of the cultural significance of these fish. Federal scientists and Tribal representatives continue working together on the Upper Columbia River White Sturgeon Recovery Team and collaborate on research projects in cooperation with the Bonneville Power Administration. Contact: Jim Petersen, 509-538-2299, ext. 236,

Water Resources of the Tulalip Tribes. Future increases in population and development of lands of the Tulalip Tribes and neighboring areas would lead to increased pumping of ground water both on and off the Native lands. Increased pumpage may decrease baseflows of streams and could affect fish-rearing operations in the Tulalip Creek watershed. In cooperation with the Tulalip Tribes, USGS scientists are conducting a study to evaluate Tribal ground-water and surface-water resources. To date, 252 wells have been inventoried and 15 wells have been sampled. Selected streams and wells were monitored in Fiscal Year 2003 for flows and water levels, respectively. The geohydrologic system has been mapped. A water budget and future ground-water use are being evaluated. The results of this study will be published in Fiscal Year 2004. Contact: Lonna Frans, 253-428-3600 ext. 2694,

Salmon Life History. USGS fishery biologists are continuing to assist the Skagit System Tribal Cooperative in studying the life history of chinook salmon in the Skagit River, Washington. The study is being done by Seattle City Light, Skagit System Cooperative, and the USGS, and investigates the importance of intertidal estuarine habitats in the life cycle of chinook salmon. The length of time spent in this ecosystem is determined, and the daily growth of juvenile chinook salmon measured, by studying the changes in "ear stone" (otolith) microstructure. The USGS provides staff, specialized equipment, supervision, technical assistance, and expertise in conducting the study. Contact: Lyman K. Thorsteinson, 206-526-6282,

Salmon River Watershed Analysis, Quinault Indian Nation. The Quinault Indian Nation collaborated with USGS and several other agencies to conduct an analysis of the Salmon River watershed. The Salmon River watershed covers 3 square miles of forested land, much of which has been affected by timber harvesting. The river has native runs of chinook and coho salmon, as well as steelhead trout. The Quinault Nation also operates a salmon hatchery on the river. The watershed analysis will be used to support Tribal decision-making processes in managing the river system and restoring salmon runs. Under two separate projects, the USGS led efforts for two modules—hydrology and geomorphology—of the watershed analysis. As part of the hydrology module, USGS staff measured and described low-flow discharge at selected sites on the Salmon River and correlated low-flow discharges with nearby continuous-discharge records to estimate low-flow magnitudes and recurrence intervals on the Salmon River. As part of the geomorphology module, USGS scientists investigated channel-migration processes, including interactions among channel migration, large woody debris, floodplains, and the surrounding forest. Historic channels and logjams were also mapped. The results of these studies were written as chapters of a watershed analysis that was published by the Quinault Nation in Fiscal Year 2003. The USGS also published the results of the hydrology module as a separate USGS report (Watershed analysis of the Salmon River Watershed, Washington-Hydrology, USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 03–4204, Bidlake, 2003). Contact: Bill Bidlake 253-428-3600 ext. 2641,; Jim O'Connor, 503-251-3222,

Concentrations of Dissolved Oxygen in the lower Puyallup and White Rivers. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is concerned that wasteload allocations for biochemical oxygen demand and ammonia based on a modeling study conducted in the early 1990's will not protect the quality of water in the lower Puyallup and White Rivers. The USGS, in cooperation with the Tribe and the Washington State Department of Ecology, monitored concentrations of dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, temperature, and pH in the rivers during August and September 2001 and 2002. In Fiscal Year 2003, the USGS published a report analyzing the 2002 data for factors that affect concentrations of dissolved oxygen in the lower Puyallup and White Rivers (Ebbert 2003). A similar report analyzing the 2001 data for the Lower Puyallup and White Rivers was published in Fiscal Year 2002. The Washington State Department of Ecology will use the data to evaluate present wasteload allocations. Contact: Gary Turney, 253-428-3600 ext. 2626,

Trends in Streamflow in the lower Puyallup River Basin. The lower part of the Puyallup River traverses the Puyallup Indian Reservation and is an important resource to the Puyallup Tribe of Indians for direct water uses and for fish that help sustain the Tribe. To improve understanding of the river's resources, the USGS and the Tribe are conducting a cooperative study of flow trends of the Puyallup River, and are comparing those flows to regulatory in-stream flows for the river. During Fiscal Year 2003, various streamflow statistics were analyzed, including annual mean discharge, monthly mean discharge for summer months, and annual minimum 7-day mean flows. Streamflow records were also evaluated to determine the fraction of time that minimum instream flows were not met. The impacts of water use were evaluated using data from USGS 5-year compilations and water rights permits. A report was drafted and will be published. Contact: Steve Sumioka, 253-428-3600, ext. 2645,

Coastal Erosion in Willapa Bay, Washington. The USGS, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Army Corps of Engineers are cooperating in a study of coastal erosion on lands of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, located in Willapa Bay, Washington. Tribal lands are rapidly eroding, increasing the frequency of flooding and the loss of valuable intertidal habitat. The joint study will allow the Tribe to make informed decisions to remedy this coastal problem. This study is benefiting from the recently completed "Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study" carried out by the USGS and the Washington State Department of Ecology. This cooperative project used fundamental and applied studies to develop a regional perspective and understanding of coastal processes, sediment transport, and associated shoreline changes. The study examined the effects of man-made influences (enhanced runoff, dredging operations, Columbia River dams) and natural processes (climate variability, subsidence caused by earthquakes, coastal dune development) on sediment budgets and on the long-term shoreline change trends of the southwest Washington coast. During Fiscal Year 2003, USGS scientists collected wave, current, and sediment transport data during several winter storms. The field data are being used to calibrate and test a 2-D numerical model of circulation, sediment transport, and morphological change in the estuary. The modeling is being used to help determine the spatial patterns and causes of erosion and deposition in the estuary, and will eventually be used to evaluate alternative solutions to erosion problems. Contact: Guy Gelfenbaum, 650-329-5483,

Ground-Water Resources of the Yakima River Basin, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. Surface water in the Yakima River Basin is being adjudicated. The amount of surface water available for appropriation is not known, but there are increasing demands for water for municipal, fisheries, agricultural, industrial, and recreational uses. These demands must be met by either ground-water withdrawals and/or by changes in the way water resources are allocated and used. Ongoing management of water in the basin also may be affected by rules that protect salmonid fish under the Endangered Species Act. In Fiscal Year 2000, the USGS began a study of the ground-water system in the basin, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington State Department of Ecology, and working with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. Results of the study will describe the geologic framework and ground-water flow system in the Yakima River Basin, as well as the interaction between ground water and surface water. A ground-water model will be constructed to improve understanding of the system and to help estimate the effects of selected management strategies. The model will address the effects of potential future ground-water pumping on streamflow because of the importance of streamflow to the life-history stages of salmonids. As part of this project, about 2,000 wells were visited to verify locations and measure water levels. Water levels were measured five times at about 800 of these wells. Information about all inventoried wells was added to the USGS National Water Information System. Lithologic information from each inventoried well was digitally stored and is being used to construct maps of the hydrogeologic units. The interaction of ground water and surface water along selected reaches was monitored by collecting continuous water-level and temperature data. Analysis of these data is ongoing. Historical municipal ground-water withdrawal data have been collected and compiled, and agricultural withdrawal data were collected in Fiscal Year 2002 and Fiscal Year 2003. Another part of the ground-water withdrawal study involves relating water rights to specific wells. Ground-water recharge was estimated for the upland, forested areas in the basin using four previously constructed watershed models, and datasets are being compiled to estimate recharge in the low-lying agricultural areas. New methods were developed to thermally profile long river reaches to locate areas of large ground-water contributions and to identify potential areas of good salmonid habitat. As of Fiscal Year 2003, about 120 miles of river have been profiled. Contact: John Vaccaro, 253-428-3600 ext. 2620,

Restoration Monitoring of Satus Creek and the Satus Wildlife Area, Yakama Nation Reservation. Agricultural return flows are known to contribute suspended sediment, nutrients, bacteria, metals, and pesticide loads to creeks and rivers in the Yakima River Basin. In particular, Satus Creek, located on lands of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, receives loads from the North Drain return flow, resulting in increases of sediment, nutrients, bacteria, and pesticides, both in the water column and in streambed sediments. In addition, the deposition of sediment from the North Drain return flow has created barriers to the migration of fish protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A large-scale restoration effort by the Yakama Nation and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) is being conducted to improve the aquatic ecosystem associated with Satus Creek and the Satus Wildlife Area. Several salmonids that are listed under the ESA have historically used Satus Creek for parts of their lives. In the Yakima River Basin, a large part of the production of one of these species (anadromous steelhead trout) is in Satus Creek. The Satus Wildlife Area also is an important component in the restoration of habitat for wildlife and fish in the lower Yakima River Basin. The USGS, in cooperation with the ACE, is monitoring the hydrologic, water-quality, and possibly the biologic effects of the North Satus Drain Ecosystem Restoration to identify temporal and spatial changes in the system. The USGS is also compiling selected historical data for Satus Creek, North Drain, and the local shallow ground-water system. The USGS began monitoring the current baseline conditions in Fiscal Year 2002 and will continue monitoring conditions after the restoration work is completed. As of Fiscal Year 2003, data have been collected at various surface-water and ground-water sites to identify pre-restoration concentrations of nutrients, metals, and organochlorine compounds. Fish samples from carp in the Satus Wildlife Area and bed-sediment samples at two sites were also collected and analyzed for metals and organochlorine compounds. Contact: John Vaccaro, 253-428-3600 ext. 2620,

Doug Call (USGS) conducting a mini-piezometer measurement on the Yakima RIver. (Photo by W. Simonds, USGS)
Doug Call (USGS) conducting a mini-piezometer measurement on the Yakima RIver. (Photo by W. Simonds, USGS)

Yakima River Basin Stream Quality and Biological Communities. The lands of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation encompass more than 100,000 acres of intensively irrigated land within the Yakima River Basin. Agricultural runoff throughout the Yakima Basin, including the Yakama Nation, continues to be assessed as part of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA). Trends are being assessed by comparing water-quality data (legacy pesticides, trace elements, fecal indicator bacteria, aquatic communities of insects and algae) to similar data collected more than a decade ago in an earlier NAWQA study. The study of agricultural runoff from small watersheds includes several drainages within the Yakama Nation. NAWQA program personnel worked cooperatively with personnel from the Yakama Nation's Department of Natural Resources. Agricultural runoff was collected from a network of biological sampling sites on several small watersheds to assess the effect of different irrigation methods and agricultural practices on surface-water quality including algae and aquatic insects and their habitats. The intent of the biological assessment is to determine a threshold of agricultural activity capable of sustaining healthy aquatic communities. In addition, a ground-water sample and a surface-water sample were collected within the basin to measure emerging contaminants, including antibiotics, other prescription and non-prescription drugs, organic-waste-water contaminants, and steroids. These chemicals may be leaching to shallow ground water from combined animal feeding operations or may be entering surface water from point and non-point sources. During Fiscal Year 2003 and Fiscal Year 2004, weekly water samples were and will be taken and analyzed from a series of wells and surface-water sites to provide data upon which to base a 3-D understanding of the transport of anthropogenic compounds through an agricultural system. This is one part of a national study by NAWQA ( Additional reports from studies of agricultural contaminants in the Yakima Basin as well as chemical data can be obtained at Contact: Robert W. Black, 253-428-3699,; Greg Fuhrer, 503-251-3231,

Steelhead Restoration. USGS fishery biologists continue cooperating with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation in an effort to restore steelhead trout in the Wind River Basin in southwestern Washington State. Federal scientists and Tribal representatives worked together on a Technical Advisory Committee to the Wind River Watershed Council. For more information about this project, see the following website: Contact: Jim Petersen, 509-538-2299, ext. 236,

Watershed Restoration for Reintroduction of Salmon and Steelhead. USGS fishery biologists are continuing a partnership with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation fishery biologists in an effort to assess and restore the Rattlesnake Creek watershed of the White Salmon River Basin. Restoration of this watershed is especially important because of the possible reintroduction of salmon and steelhead above Condit Dam on the White Salmon River. Federal scientists and Tribal representatives worked together on a Technical Advisory Committee to the White Salmon Watershed Management Council. A USGS website for the project is: Contact: Jim Petersen, 509-538-2299, ext. 236,

Water Management and Steelhead on National Wildlife Refuges. USGS fishery biologists continue to study the effects of water and land management at Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge (managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Fishery biologists of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation are cooperating in this study. The study involves estimating the number of steelhead that enter the refuge, their residence times, and their condition and growth rate. The Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to the Yakama Indian Reservation in southern Washington State. Information will help refuge managers make decisions about managing water movement, constructing or removing dikes, or altering vegetation types. A USGS website for the project is: Contact: Jim Petersen, 509-538-2299, ext. 236,

Coastal Cutthroat Trout Distribution in Columbia River Gorge. USGS fishery biologists from the Western Fisheries Research Center cooperated with fishery biologists from the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation to describe current distribution of coastal cutthroat trout in stream systems draining to the Columbia River within the Columbia River Gorge. Poor hatchery returns, low angling success, and low numbers of fish at counting stations indicate that populations of sea-run cutthroat trout have declined throughout the lower Columbia River Basin. Information on the current status of sea-run and resident coastal cutthroat trout populations in the lower Columbia River, especially above Bonneville Dam, is extremely limited. This effort provides a necessary first step toward assessing needs for specific management and recovery goals for coastal cutthroat trout in the Columbia River Basin above Bonneville Dam. Products of the cooperative work include a report and a website (under development) presenting information and portraying species distribution. Some of the results will be presented at the American Fisheries Society's Western Division conference. Contact: Patrick Connolly, 509-538-2299, ext. 269,

Pacific Lampreys. The USGS is assisting Columbia River Treaty Tribes in their effort to study the status and needs of Pacific lamprey in the Columbia River Basin. The USGS is continuing to assist the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation (CTUIR) in their endeavor to reestablish Pacific lampreys in the Umatilla River. USGS biologists are cooperating with the CTUIR to conduct research on several aspects of the life history and habitat needs of lampreys in the Columbia River Basin. The USGS, in cooperation with is CTUIR, investigating the olfactory sensitivity of Pacific lampreys to pheromones released by other lampreys and lampreys' use of these pheromones as a migratory cue. The USGS is cooperating with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSRO) in research to examine the distribution and abundance of all lamprey species found in the Deschutes River Basin. Additional USGS research to assist these Tribes includes a study to define critical habitat needs of lamprey eggs and early larvae by conducting experiments to measure effects of temperature on these early life history stages and refining identification and aging techniques for larval lamprey. All of these projects are intended to provide information that will help the CTUIR implement their Umatilla River restoration plan. Biologists from the USGS and CTUIR have often combined resources in activities such as field collections of larval lampreys and laboratory dissections of larval lampreys for identification and aging studies. Additionally, USGS, CTUIR, and CTWSRO biologists have routinely shared information from cooperative studies. Contact: Jennifer Bayer, 509-538-2299, ext. 299,

Umatilla Basin Ground-Water Study Planning. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), and USGS continued to plan an investigation of the ground-water resources in the Umatilla Basin with special focus on ground-water/surface-water interaction. Basic data collection of continuous water levels in selected wells was initiated by the three cooperating agencies in Fiscal Year 2003. The Columbia River Basalt Aquifer can produce large quantities of water and underlies the Umatilla Basin; however, the storage capacity of the basalts is limited. As a result, water levels in the aquifer are declining in many parts of the basin and there is concern about the impact of these changes to the hydrologic system on discharge to streams. Recent meetings between the Tribes, OWRD, and USGS have started the process of developing a detailed scope of work for the comprehensive ground-water investigation in the basin. Contact: Bill McFarland, 503-251-3204,

Spring Chinook Salmon on the Deschutes River, Oregon. USGS fishery biologists continue cooperating with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in the third year of a study on the Deschutes River in Oregon. The study will help to determine the distribution, migration behavior, habitat use, and species interactions of juvenile spring Chinook salmon raised in hatcheries and released in the fall on the Deschutes River. Juvenile spring Chinook salmon are tagged with radio transmitters and then tracked throughout the lower Deschutes River as they migrate downstream from the Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery. Information from the tracking devices will help determine the winter locations of juvenile salmon released during fall and how they might impact wild salmon in the Deschutes River. Working together, scientists from the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation and the USGS are sharing the responsibilities for trapping, tagging, tracking, and instream sampling during this study. Contact: Jim Petersen, 509-538-2299, ext. 236,

Geomorphology of the Deschutes River, Oregon. The results of this project, which was completed in Fiscal Year 2003, describe the geologic and geomorphic context of the Deschutes River system in a way that helps evaluate the effects of the Pelton–Round Butte hydroelectric complex on downstream channel morphology. Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation are currently applying jointly to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relicensing of the hydroelectric complex. Results of the USGS study were published in 2003: O'Connor, J.E., and Grant, G.E., eds., 2003, A peculiar river: Geology, geomorphology, and hydrology of the Deschutes River, Oregon: American Geophysical Union Water Science and Application Series, no. 7, 220 p. Contact: Jim O'Connor, 503-251-3222,

Upper Klamath Lake Water-Quality Conditions. In 2002, the USGS began a multi-year study to determine the behavioral response of endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers to poor water-quality conditions in Upper Klamath Lake. These fish have great cultural significance to The Klamath Tribes and were an historically important food source for Native Americans in the Klamath Basin. As one of the alternatives in the 2001 Biological Opinion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked the Bureau of Reclamation to begin a study on the role that "water-quality refuges" play in the survival of the endangered suckers during periods when much of the lake is characterized by poor water-quality conditions. Two main parts of the study include installing a network of continuous water-quality monitors to determine the spatial and temporal extent of water-quality refuges in the lake, and tracking radio-tagged suckers in the lake throughout the summer. The second of three field seasons was completed in 2003. Contact: Tammy Wood, 503-251-3255,

Quantifying the Ground-Water Resources of the Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon and California. Ground water has long been considered a possible source to meet the increasing demands for water in the upper Klamath Basin. A quantitative understanding of the regional ground-water system is crucial to managing water resources in the basin; however, the amount of ground water that can be pumped without adversely affecting existing well users and streamflow is not well understood. The USGS is conducting a 7-year investigation that continues through Fiscal Year 2005 to quantify the ground-water resources of the upper Klamath Basin. This information will be used by water managers to help determine how ground water can contribute to solving water-supply problems and, at the same time, maintain ground-water discharge to streams critical for aquatic wildlife. The Klamath Tribes resides in the upper Klamath Basin study area. Three additional Tribes (Hoopa Valley, Yurok, and Karuk) reside in the lower basin. All of these Tribes are interested in water-resources management in the basin and in the present study. Although the USGS is not formally cooperating in partnership with Tribes in the basin, project personnel have communicated with Tribal representatives, and in the case of The Klamath Tribes, have worked with Tribal members to obtain access to certain properties and wells for data collection. Contact: Marshall Gannett, 503-251-3233,

Anadromous Fishery Restoration. In 2003, USGS ecologists participated in the Trinity River Restoration Program (cooperating with the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes) and the Klamath River Basin Anadromous Fishery Restoration Program (cooperating with the Yurok and Karuk Tribes). The U.S. Department of the Interior's lead bureau for coordinating on-the-water sampling of adult and young-of-year salmon and their habitat was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Arcata (California) office. The USGS collaborated with design and implementation of the sampling. The sampling data from the past 7 years are being analyzed to improve the Klamath River System Impact Assessment Model (SIAM). This was the first year of renewed data collection to improve the Trinity River young-of-year salmon production model (SALMOD) since the Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study was completed. The goal for both models is to provide a better understanding of water quantity and habitat problems that limit salmonid production. SIAM is available at as is the user's guide. Contact: Dave Hamilton, 970-226-9383,

Amphibian Surveys on Tribal Lands in California. USGS scientists from the Western Ecological Research Center worked with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in summer 2003. The biologists conducted surveys for mountain yellow-legged frogs and red-legged frogs and assessed habitat suitability for these species on Tribal lands in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. Neither of the target species was found on Tribal lands, however, during one part of the study a new cultural site was identified and recorded. Contact: Robert N. Fisher, 858-637-6882,

Water-Quality Sampling of the Taku River. The Douglas Indian Association (DIA), the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and the USGS completed the final year of data collection as part of a 5-year cooperative water-quality project to establish baseline water-quality data for the Taku River, an important salmon fishery. Although the watershed is undeveloped, a new mine is proposed in the watershed on the Canadian side of the border. The Taku River also is subject to glacial outburst floods that affect the River's water quality. The USGS is conducting the field sampling and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is analyzing the samples. The DIA has provided an intern to assist USGS researchers with the sampling for part of the project. During Fiscal Year 2003, USGS scientists continued working with the Water Survey of Canada and the Canadian part of the DIA by providing logistical support and discharge measurements for the collection of water-quality samples on the Taku River and several of its tributaries on the Canadian side of the border. Contact: Bruce Bigelow, 907-586-7287,

Stream Gaging of Sinona Creek. The USGS operates a streamflow-monitoring station on Sinona Creek near Chistochina for the Cheesh'Na Tribal Council. Sinona Creek is an important subsistence fishery. Tribal members have noticed a marked decrease in streamflow the past few years. USGS hydrologists provided training to tribal members in measurement of streamflow. Contact: Steven Frenzel, 907-786-7100,

Geologic Mapping near Tanacross, AK. Surficial geologic mapping by the USGS is underway along a section of the Alaska Highway near Tanacross, Alaska. A high-pressure natural gas pipeline route is proposed to run parallel to the highway from Fairbanks to the Yukon. The map will provide information for land-use decisions along the proposed route. The Tanacross Corporation owns about 25 percent of the land being mapping by this project. Results of the mapping will be shared with the Tanacross Tribal Council and the map can be used by the Tribe to identify economic gravel resources and permafrost areas. Contact: Paul Carrara, 303-236-1287,

Aniak Mining District Geologic Map Compilation. The USGS is cooperating with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on a five-year regional study in southwest Alaska that will benefit two Alaska Native Regional Corporations—Calista and Doyon. BLM's Aniak Mining District study encompasses 360,000 km2 of Federal, State, and Native Corporation land in an area of past gold and mercury production that may contain additional undiscovered gold and other resources. The USGS brings local expertise to the cooperative project, having previously performed 1:250,000-scale geologic mapping and assessment of undiscovered resources for about one-half of the area. The USGS has compiled a geologic map of the mining district as an underlay for the BLM studies. In Fiscal Year 2003, BLM released the results from a 1000-mi2 geophysical survey in the center of the mining district. The geophysical survey was published by the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The USGS will assist in interpreting these data and will incorporate new information into the geologic compilation. Contact: Marti L. Miller, 907-786-7437,

Stream Gaging of Eklutna River. In continuing cooperation with the Native Village of Eklutna, the USGS operates a streamflow-monitoring station on the Eklutna River near Eklutna, Alaska. USGS employees make periodic discharge measurements on the Eklutna River above the confluence with Thunderbird Creek. The Eklutna River, a subsistence fishery for the village, has been adversely impacted by water withdrawal in the headwaters and gravel mining near the mouth. The village is interested in reclaiming the fishery and applying for instream-flow water rights. USGS staff have been teaching Tribal members how to measure streamflow and archive data. USGS staff also trained Tribal fisheries employees to characterize streambed sediments. Contact: Steven Frenzel, 907-786-7100,

Geochemical Landscape of Alaska Native Corporation Lands. Geologists from the USGS have developed collaborative plans with Alaska Native Corporations to conduct projects with the goal of understanding the geochemical landscape (that is, the spatial variations in the distribution of chemical elements within media such as stream sediment and soil) of Native and adjacent lands. The study areas comprise the southwestern quadrant of Alaska, including the Aleutian Islands. Part of the project includes collecting one sample per 289 km2 (10 km by 10 km grid cell) and analyzing each sample for 43 chemical elements of both geological and environmental significance (such as mercury, arsenic, and selenium). Geologists from the Calista Corporation and the Bristol Bay Native Corporation participated in acquiring samples for analysis. Sampling was completed in the Bristol Bay, Calista, and adjacent areas in 2003. The samples collected in Fiscal Year 2003 will be chemically analyzed. Data will become part of the National Geochemical Survey and will be available on the web at: The geochemical data will be used to create interpretive derivative maps involving watersheds, lithologies, geology, mineral deposits, and political boundaries. The products of the project are designed to assist the Native Corporations in managing their lands. Contact: Andrew E. Grosz, 703-648-6314,

Sulfide Oxidation, Metal Fluxes, and Biological Impacts in Coastal Environments of Prince William Sound, Alaska. A reconnaissance investigation was initiated to better understand the fate of sulfide-rich debris distributed along shorelines in Prince William Sound, Alaska. This material is related to mining activities conducted close to shorelines in the region during the early twentieth century. Specifically, the extent of metal-sulfide oxidation, acid generation, and metal fluxes within the transitional zone needed to be delineated to identify potential human and environmental impacts including nearshore areas below the mine sites and extending across the intertidal zone into shallow subtidal areas offshore. Samples of sulfide-bearing ore and waste, surface water, and sediment were collected from mine workings, drainages below mines and mine dumps, the mixing zone between ground water and seawater in subsurface beach gravels, and offshore. The resulting observations and analytical data provide evidence that plumes of acidic, metal-rich water resulting from sulfide oxidation are entering the intertidal zone at two sites (Ellamar and Threeman). Additional studies, in collaboration with USGS biologists and the University of Alaska-Anchorage, are planned for these two sites and a much larger mine site on Latouche Island. These studies will focus on the extent of these plumes and the impact of metal fluxes on aquatic organisms and habitat in the intertidal and offshore marine environments. The USGS contacted Alaska Native corporations to obtain permission for access to mine areas and also provided briefings on the research results. Chugach Alaska Corporation and The Tatitlek Corporation own much of the surface land and some of the underground mine sites in the area. The results of the USGS study has implications for people who use local aquatic resources including shellfish, boating and other forms of recreation along the shorelines, ecotourism, and the development of new home sites, especially at Ellamar. The USGS will continue to work closely with the Native corporations as additional work is planned. Contact: Randy Koski, 650-329-5499,

The intertidal zone at the Ellamar mine site, Prince William Sound. The oxidation of sulfide debris in beach gravels (foreground)results in acidic subsurface water containing metals such as iron, copper,zinc, lead, and cadmium in solution.
The intertidal zone at the Ellamar mine site, Prince William Sound. The oxidation of sulfide debris in beach gravels (foreground) results in acidic subsurface water containing metals such as iron, copper, zinc, lead, and cadmium in solution. (Photo by R. Koski)

Mapping Sensitive Islands in the Bering Sea. The USGS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Response and Restoration have completed a mapping project for the Pribilof Islands of Alaska. Saint George and Saint Paul are the only two inhabited islands in the volcanic Pribilof archipelago. The Pribilofs are located in the Bering Sea approximately 770 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, and 250 miles north of the Aleutian Islands. These two tiny islands are home to the world's largest community of Aleut people. The maps and digital data from this project will be used for restoring the environmental integrity of the islands along with identifying and protecting sensitive habitat areas of migratory birds and marine mammals. The data are also being shared with the Native communities on the islands for land use, economic development analysis, and natural resource management. A concerted effort was undertaken by the local residents to identify the original Aleut names for various geographic features on both islands. Organizations contacted by USGS personnel included: Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island, Tribal Government Ecosystem Conservation Office (St. Paul); the Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island; Tanadgusix Corporation (Saint Paul); the Saint George Traditional Council, and the Saint George Tanaq Corporation. This effort will help to acknowledge and preserve the historical and linguistic importance of the Aleut language. The Alaska Historical Commission along with the U.S. Board of Geographic Names concurred on the significance of this innovative approach. The local names were provided to the USGS for incorporation into the final four 1:25,000-scale map products with many of the geographic features on both islands are labeled in English and Aleut. Contact: A.C. Brown, 907-786-7002,

Alaska Volcanoes and Alaska Natives. Open communication between Alaska Natives and the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) is crucial in helping to safeguard Alaskan communities from geologic hazards. Numerous Alaska Native villages and corporations communicate with the AVO during periods of volcanic activity. Native officials transmit on-site observations to AVO, and AVO scientists distribute interpretive and hazards information to the Native communities. Many of these communities are on the AVO automatic weekly update fax and/or electronic mail lists that provide the activity status of more than 40 active volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands. All Native villages in the Aleutians, including Nelson Lagoon, Naknek, Unalaska, Akutan, False Pass, Atka, King Cove, and Perryville, are near active volcanoes. AVO scientists also conduct geological field studies and service existing seismic-monitoring equipment to provide real-time warnings of volcanic activity and related hazards to aircraft and local communities. USGS communications and research involved obtaining letters of non-objection for proposed volcano hazards work and accessing lands owned or selected by several Alaska Native corporations, including The Aleut Corporation, Akutan Corporation, Ounalashka Corporation, Ahtna Incorporated, and Cook Inlet Region Incorporated. Contact: Thomas Murray, 907-786-7443,

The contacts provided in the report were accurate at the time of publication. Please refer to the USGS Employee Directory or the Office of Tribal Relations contact page if you require information about a specific activity.

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