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Bryan D. Downing

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This report is the first in a series of three reports that provide information about high-frequency (HF) nutrient and biogeochemical monitoring in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta of northern California (Delta). This first report provides an introduction to the reasons for and fundamental concepts behind collecting HF measurements, and describes the benefits associated with a real-time, continuous, HF, multi-parameter water quality monitoring station network that is co-located with flow stations. It then provides examples of how HF nutrient measurements have improved our understating of nutrient sources and cycling in aquatic systems worldwide, followed by specific examples from the Delta. These examples describe...
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This study characterized the amount and quality of organic matter in the Clackamas River, Oregon, to gain an understanding of sources that contribute to the formation of chlorinated and brominated disinfection by-products (DBPs), focusing on regulated DBPs in treated drinking water from two direct-filtration treatment plants that together serve approximately 100,000 customers. The central hypothesis guiding this study was that natural organic matter leaching out of the forested watershed, in-stream growth of benthic algae, and phytoplankton blooms in the reservoirs contribute different and varying proportions of organic carbon to the river. Differences in the amount and composition of carbon derived from each source...
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The San Francisco Bay–Delta Estuary watershed is a major source of freshwater for California and a profoundly human-impacted environment. The water quality monitoring that is critical to the management of this important water resource and ecosystem relies primarily on a system of fixed water-quality monitoring stations, but the limited spatial coverage often hinders understanding. Here, we show how the latest technology in visible/near-infrared imaging spectroscopy can facilitate water quality monitoring in this highly dynamic and heterogeneous system by enabling simultaneous depictions of several water quality indicators at very high spatial resolution. The airborne portable remote imaging spectrometer (PRISM)...
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Accurately quantifying nitrate (NO3–) loading from the Mississippi River is important for predicting summer hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico and targeting nutrient reduction within the basin. Loads have historically been modeled with regression-based techniques, but recent advances with high frequency NO3– sensors allowed us to evaluate model performance relative to measured loads in the lower Mississippi River. Patterns in NO3– concentrations and loads were observed at daily to annual time steps, with considerable variability in concentration-discharge relationships over the two year study. Differences were particularly accentuated during the 2012 drought and 2013 flood, which resulted in anomalously high NO3– concentrations...
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This report is the second in a series of three reports that provide information about high-frequency (HF) nutrient and biogeochemical monitoring in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta of northern California (Delta). The purpose of this report is to synthesize the data available from a nutrient and water-quality HF (about every 15 minutes) monitoring network operated by the U.S. Geological Survey in the northern Delta. In this report, we describe the network and focus on the purpose of each station. We then present and discuss the available data, at various timescales—first at the monthly, seasonal, and inter-annual timescales, and second, for comparison, at the tidal and event timescales. As expected, we determined...
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