Big Sioux River Drainage Basin Information Outreach Project

EPA Grant Number: R828575
Title: Big Sioux River Drainage Basin Information Outreach Project
Investigators: Johnson, Lyle D. , Bender, Alan R. , Cowman, Tim , Gilbertson, Jay P. , Greenlee, David D , Sando, Steven K. , Smith, Kevin , Stefanich, Tim , Van Aartsen, Steven
Institution: South Dakota State University
Current Institution: South Dakota State University , United States Geological Survey [USGS]
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2002
Project Amount: $572,976
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


The main goal of the proposed project is to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting the Big Sioux River drainage basin. To accomplish this goal, the City and its partnering agencies are seeking to expand and improve public accessibility to a wide variety of relevant environmental data.


Continuous real-time water quality monitors will be installed at three USGS gauging stations to provide information on water quality in the Big Sioux River with instrumentation to measure specific conductance, pH, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and nitrate concentration. Monitoring these parameters will provide useful information concerning the ionic content of the water, amounts of suspended materials, movement of nutrients through the basin, and values of important variables that are critical to aquatic organisms. Periodic water samples for analysis of nitrate and suspended-sediment concentrations will be collected monthly at each station. Samples for semi-quantitative analysis of triazine-herbicide concentration by immunoassay will be collected six times per year at each station, during the period April through July to monitor pre- and post-application concentrations.

Water quality and water quantity data (stage/discharge) that is being collected through on-going projects within the watershed will be supplied by the partnering agencies. Chemical parameters being analyzed include ammonia, nitrate, total suspended solids, total phosphorus, total dissolved phosphorus, TKN and total solids. Fecal coliform is also analyzed. Field readings of temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and conductivity are also being taken. The city actively samples Big Sioux River water five days a week for several parameters including pH, alkalinity, hardness (total, calcium, and magnesium), turbidity, temperature, total dissolved solids, color, iron, manganese, fluoride, chloride, nitrate, nitrite, bromide and sulfate. In addition, total organic carbon and UV-254 are sampled weekly. Samples for microbiological parameters are collected on a monthly basis that includes total and fecal coliforms, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia. Quarterly analysis of select herbicides and insecticides is also performed and will be made available for this project.

An appropriate data presentation format is critical to the goal of making the real-time and periodic data understandable to the diverse range of parties who are interested in stream flow and water quality conditions. The data collected will be stored on a central database maintained by the City of Sioux Falls. The city will develop a web site to consolidate and display relevant information. This will include the creation of maps showing locations of all facilities with NPDES permits along with display of recent results of DMRs. In addition, the web site will display real time or timely information on rainfall, the results of periodic nitrate and immunoassay pesticide analyses, TMDL information for non-point source pollution and will provide links to web sites of partnering agencies where the user can find more in-depth information. Digital aerial photographs and Landsat imagery will be supplied to augment the site. Project personnel will also develop a multimedia presentation for distribution to interested parties and create a speaker's bureau to promote the project. During public open houses the city will also distribute printed materials to publicize the project.

Expected Results:

The ultimate benefit of the program will be a better-informed public who, given a better understanding of the basin, will be more proactive in improving the condition of the Big Sioux River and its watershed. The expected results are: improved public access to environmental data regarding current and historical conditions within the basin; better monitoring of critical water-quality variables to assess environmental conditions; clear and concise presentation of information in a manner that will allow resource managers and the general public to better measure and understand the effects of management practices designed to improve water quality in the basin; increased usage of the Big Sioux River resources and heightened awareness among the general public concerning their roles and responsibilities for improving conditions within the basin; and reinforcement of the level of cooperation between various groups and agencies involved in managing the natural resources in the basin.

The proposed format offers an innovative approach that will allow users to track and understand spatial as well as temporal changes in stream flow and water quality. Long-term monitoring of these environmental parameters will provide a better means for early detection of problems within the basin. Bringing together the different research and environmental professionals will create an on-going management group to discuss environmental issues and assess trends that may be identified through the creation of the web site and the data presented.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

steering committee, community awareness, stakeholder involvement, interactive GIS, consortium, remote sensing, Midwest, agriculture, feedlots, hydrology, sustainability, water supply, groundwater, information technology, FTP, oracle, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Nutrients, Hydrology, Contaminated Sediments, Environmental Chemistry, pesticides, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, fate and transport, aquatic ecosystem, microbial indicators, nutrient supply, nutrient transport, remote sensing, EMPACT, bioterrorism, contaminated sediment, coliform, coliform and crytosporidium alerts, triazine, web site development, community outreach, water quality, environmental monitoring data, public health alerts, public outreach, herbicides, groundwater

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • Final Report