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Recreational water quality analyses of the Colorado River corridor in Grand Canyon

You are viewing information about the paper Recreational water quality analyses of the Colorado River corridor in Grand Canyon.

Journal: Appl Environ Microbiol 1984/11/01
Published: 1984
Authors: Tunnicliff, B.;Brickler, S. K.
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We intensively examined the recreational water quality of the Colorado River and 26 tributaries in Grand Canyon National Park over four consecutive summers. Highly ephemeral precipitation cycles and arid watershed hydrologies were the principal factors influencing water quality. Fecal coliforms (FC) in the river and in most tributaries were less than or equal to 10 FC 100 ml-1 and less than or equal to 20 FC 100 ml-1, respectively, during drought cycles. During rainfall cycles, FC densities were highly variable and often exceeded recreational contact standards. FC were not found to vary significantly in response to diurnal fluctuations in river stage height which resulted from hydroelectric stream flow regulation. River and tributary bottom sediments harbored FC in densities averaging 10 to 100 times those in the overlying waters. Sediment FC densities were not found to be reliable indicators of overlying water quality when storm flow and nonstorm flow periods were compared.

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