The Boulder Creek Watershed is located in the Front Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The watershed offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate the effects of natural processes and human activities on a river system, because it flows from protected mountain headwaters through a progressively more urbanized region to a dominantly agricultural landscape. The USGS has performed several studies to develop a better understanding of the Boulder Creek Watershed.
The USGS, in cooperation with the City of Boulder, Colorado has produced an overview of water quality in the Boulder Creek Watershed today and how it has changed over 160 years. Gold mining records, typhoid cases, historical accounts, and water quality data were used to determine water quality in the watershed since 1859. The report also evaluates the impacts of land use change, water diversions, urban runoff, and wastewater effluent on water quality, and addresses potential water quality issues of the future.
The USGS collaborated with the City of Boulder and the University of Colorado to provide a detailed examination of the water quality of Boulder Creek, Colorado, during high-flow and low-flow conditions in the year 2000. 226 water-quality variables were evaluated, including basic water-quality indicators, major ions and trace elements, wastewater-derived organic compounds, and pesticides. The detailed sampling and analysis provide a baseline for future reference, as well as information on the effect of land use and geology on water chemistry.
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