Surface Water Data Description

Hydrography

Restoration Planning: The watershed boundaries and watershed areas are probably useful for large-scale planning only.

Data Description: Found on the NRIS Mapper page under "Other Data Types," this includes (1) 4th code watershed boundary and watershed area under "Hydrologic Units", (2) location and miles of major perennial streams and stream segments under "Major Streams" and (3) area of lakes and reservoirs under "Major Lakes."  All of these can be downloaded from this site as shape files for GIS applications, or can obtained directly from the GIS download site (http://nris.state.mt.us/gis/datalist.html#lw)  Additional metadata is available from this site.

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USGS Gaging Stations

Restoration Planning: Potentially useful for locations and links to real-time stream  conditions during restoration projects.

Data Description: This map (NRIS Mapper) currently shows locations of most (but not all) active USGS gauging stations including Blacktail Creek At Butte, Silver Bow Creek below Blacktail Creek, Silver Bow Creek At Opportunity, Silver Bow Creek At Warm Springs, Clark Fork Near Galen, and the Little Blackfoot River Near Garrison.  Station locations can be downloaded as a shape file for GIS applications.  Clicking on individual stations or on the station list provides a direct link to USGS real-time data for that site (see description below). Note: This map does not include all USGS gauging stations. Missing stations include Warm Springs Creek near Anaconda, Warm Springs Creek at Warm Springs and the Clark Fork River near Deer Lodge.  Data for these sites are available at the USGS site (see below).

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Real time stream flow

Restoration Planning: Useful for monitoring real-time conditions during implementation of monitoring projects. The flow exceedence table on this page provides important information for designing projects along streams and to identifying critical low and high flows.

Data Description: Real-time stream flow data is the default view at station web sites, showing 7-day graphs of gage height, discharge, and for some stations, temperature.  The default time interval for real-time observation is 7-days, but can be customized on the web page to view information for up to about 1 month. For location data for each station, go to the site map options from the pull-down menu on the station home page (links below) to obtain gage location, gage datum, watershed area, and period of record. 

Under the discharge graph is a table showing daily mean flow statistics at that station on that day.  The table includes:

  • Current flow
  • Minimum flow
  • Mean flow
  • Maximum flow
  • 80% exceedence
  • 50% exceedence
  • 20% exceedence  (% exceedence means that 80, 50, or 20% of all daily mean flows have been greater than the value shown)

Stations with real-time information available include (links go to USGS site):

Station # Station Name Gage height Discharge Temperature
12323240 Blacktail Creek at Butte   X X   
12323250 Silver Bow Creek below Blacktail Creek at Butte   X X   
12323600 Silver Bow Creek at Opportunity X X   
12323750 Silver Bow Creek at Warm Springs X X   
12323760 Warm Springs Creek near Anaconda X X   
12323770 Warm Springs Creek at Warm Springs X X X
12323800 Clark Fork River near Galen X X X
12324200 Clark Fork River at Deer Lodge X X X
12324590 Little Blackfoot River near Garrison X X X
12324680 Clark Fork at Goldcreek MT  X X  
12329500 Flint Creek at Maxville MT  X X  
12331500 Flint Creek near Drummond MT X X  
12331800 Clark Fork near Drummond MT  X X  
12332000 Middle Fork Rock Cr near Philipsburg MT  X X  
12334510  Rock Creek near Clinton MT  X X X
12334550 Clark Fork at Turah Bridge near Bonner MT X X   
12340000 Blackfoot River near Bonner MT  X X X
12340500 Clark Fork above Missoula MT  X X X

Quality of Data:  Real time stream flow data are provisional.  Information on data reliability is available at http://montana.usgs.gov/pub/MT_disclaimer.html

Reference:  U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1123: Stream-Gaging Program of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Contact Information:  Questions about data can be directed to:  gs-w-mt_NWISWeb_Data_Inquiries@usgs.gov

Website:  http://mt.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt

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Daily, monthly and annual stream flow statistics

Restoration Planning: Stream flow data are useful primarily for restoration projects that involve channel design. This flow information is important to designing projects along streams and to identifying critical low and high flows.

Data Description: This data can be accessed from the real-time page for individual stations (see description and links above) from a pull-down menu.  Options from this menu include:

  • Recent Daily - graphs of discharge for the past month to year
  • Daily Stream Flow - graphs or data tables anytime within the period of record
  • Daily Stream Flow Statistics - daily mean discharge for the period of record in HTML tables or tab-separated lists for download
  • Monthly Stream Flow Statistics - monthly averages for each year and all years in HTML tables or tab-separated lists for download
  • Annual Stream Flow Statistics - annual mean for the period of record in HTML tables or tab-separated lists for download
  • Annual Peak Stream Flow - graph or data table of annual peak flows

For location data for each station, go to the site map options from the pull-down menu on the station home page to obtain gage location, gage datum, watershed area, and period of record. The period of record at different stations is variable:

Station Name Years of record
Blacktail Creek at Butte   11
Silver Bow Creek below Blacktail Creek 16
Silver Bow Creek at Opportunity 9
Silver Bow Creek at Warm Springs 14
Warm Springs Creek near Anaconda 3
Warm Springs Creek at Warm Springs 17
Clark Fork River near Galen 12
Clark Fork River at Deer Lodge 22
Little Blackfoot River near Garrison 28
Clark Fork at Goldcreek MT  22
Flint Creek at Maxville MT  58
Flint Creek near Drummond MT 11
Clark Fork near Drummond MT  7
Middle Fork Rock Cr near Philipsburg MT 62
Rock Creek near Clinton MT  28
Clark Fork at Turah Bridge near Bonner MT 16
Blackfoot River near Bonner MT  66
Clark Fork above Missoula MT  72

Quality of Data:  Information on data reliability is available at http://montana.usgs.gov/pub/MT_disclaimer.html

Reference:  U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1123: Stream-Gaging Program of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Contact Information:  Questions about data can be directed to:  gs-w-mt_NWISWeb_Data_Inquiries@usgs.gov

Website:  http://mt.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt

 

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USGS Water quality

Restoration Planning: Water quality is useful primarily as a measure of the efficacy of restoration projects intended to improve water quality.  The USGS monitoring data provides a baseline of information before and during remediation.

Data Description: This data - water quality, discrete samples - is accessed from the real-time page for individual stations (listed above). You must click on the pull-down menu near the top of the page, and select water quality.  You then have the options of specifying the dates you'd like to search for, a list of available parameters, or the data itself.  The parameter groups measured at each station are listed below.  Not all parameters have been measured at each sampling event for the entire period of record.

  • Blacktail Creek at Butte - From: 1988-10-03    To: 2000-08-30    Count: 154
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance
  • Silver Bow Creek below Blacktail Creek - From: 1983-10-12    To: 2000-09-01    Count: 250
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity
  • Silver Bow Creek at Opportunity - From: 1989-11-09    To: 2000-09-01    Count: 175
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity
  • Silver Bow Creek at Warm Springs - From: 1970-10-07    To: 2000-09-01    Count: 150
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity
  • Warm Springs Creek near Anaconda - From: 1997-11-19    To: 2000-08-29    Count: 27
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance
  • Warm Springs Creek at Warm Springs - From: 1983-09-29    To: 2000-09-01    Count: 196
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity
  • Clark Fork River near Galen - From: 1971-07-25    To: 2000-09-01    Count: 257
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, total organic carbon, coliforms, metals in <63 micron bed sediment, metals in macroinvertebrate tissue
  • Clark Fork River at Deer Lodge - From: 1969-07-11    To: 2000-09-05    Count: 325
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, biolological oxygen demand
  • Little Blackfoot River near Garrison - From: 1982-06-22    To: 2000-09-05    Count: 276
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients
  • Clark Fork at Goldcreek MT - From:  1982-06-22    To: 2000-09-05    Count: 237
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity
  • Flint Creek at Maxville MT - From: 1982-07-07    To: 2000-08-29    Count: 201
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment
  • Flint Creek near Drummond MT - From: 1972-04-13    To: 2000-09-05    Count: 216
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, acid-neutralizing capacity, coliforms
  • Clark Fork near Drummond MT - From: 1993-03-09    To: 2000-09-06    Count: 138
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity
  • Middle Fork Rock Cr near Philipsburg MT - From: 1982-07-07    To: 2000-08-29    Count:153
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance
  • Rock Creek near Clinton MT - From: 1982-06-10    To: 2000-09-06    Count: 266
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, metals in <63 micron bed sediment, metals and pesticides  in macroinvertebrate tissue
  • Clark Fork at Turah Bridge near Bonner MT - From: 1985-03-28    To: 2000-09-06    Count: 339
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, metals in <63 micron bed sediment, metals, pesticides  and other organics in macroinvertebrate tissue, periphyton biomass and chlorophyll A & B, oil & Grease, detergent suds, floating garbage, floating algae mats, odor, dead fish, floating debris
  • Blackfoot River near Bonner MT - From: 1974-09-27    To: 2000-09-06    Count: 248
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients
  • Clark Fork above Missoula MT - From: 1969-07-10    To: 2000-09-07    Count: 314
    • discharge, temperature, specific conductance, pH, major ions, total and dissolved metals, suspended sediment, acid-neutralizing capacity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, biological oxygen demand, total organic carbon, color, turbidity

Quality of Data:  Information on data reliability is available at http://montana.usgs.gov/pub/MT_disclaimer.html

Reference:  Information on USGS water quality sampling is available here: http://water.usgs.gov/owq/

Contact Information:  Questions about data can be directed to:  gs-w-mt_NWISWeb_Data_Inquiries@usgs.gov

Website:  http://mt.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt

 

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Tri-State Council Water Quality

Restoration Planning: Water quality is useful primarily as a measure of the efficacy of restoration projects intended to improve water quality.  The Tri-State Council  monitoring focuses primarily on nutrient parameters.

Data Description: The Tri-State Council water quality database includes Clark Fork data  from 1985 to the present. Data were collected by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality from 1985 to 1996. Sampling was conducted monthly from 1985 to 1994, went to quarterly sampling from 1994 to 1996, and was terminated from 1996 to 1998. The Tristate Council began sampling in 1998, and sampling has been monthly for most of the year, and twice monthly for the summer. Stations include 8 mainstem stations on the upper Clark Fork (Silver Bow at Butte WWTP, Silver Bow above Warm Springs Ponds, Clark Fork below Warm Springs Ponds, Clark Fork at Deer Lodge, Clark Fork above the Little Blackfoot, Clark Fork below Gold Creek, Clark Fork above Rock Creek, Clark Fork at Turah) and a changing number of tributary stations (but typically, monthly sampling of  Little and Big Blackfoot Rivers, Rock Creek and quarterly sampling of Flint Creek). Parameters sampled include: temperature, pH, day time dissolved oxygen, redox, conductivity, total dissolved solids,  total N & P, soluble N & P, certain cations (copper & zinc).

The Council's water monitoring information is available at:
http://www.tristatecouncil.org/pages/monitoring.htm
Note the Council's web site must be viewed with Internet Explorer.
The latest monitoring report of the council is available on their web page. http://www.tristatecouncil.org/pages/2000Reportfinal_3.pdf
Data can also be requested from:

Ruth Watkins, Executive Director
Tri-State Water Quality Council
307 N. Second Avenue, Suite 12
Sandpoint, ID 83864
208-265-9092      Fax     0754
Ruth Watkins <tristatecouncil@sandpoint.net>

A spreadsheet (MS Excel) of database stations and parameters is available here.

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UM Watershed Health Clinic 

The UM Watershed Health Clinic (with funding from the Missoula Water Quality District) has conducted an assessment of non-point nutrient sources in the Upper Clark Fork since 1999, providing summer time monthly nutrient data for several tributaries, including Lost, Racetrack, Dempsey, Gold, Flint, Cottonwood, Peterson and Warm Springs Creek at Phosphate. In 2001, 3 stations on the Little Blackfoot River were sampled (Elliston, Avon & MT12 bridge). These data are available from the UM Watershed Health Clinic.  Contact Vicki Watson (406) 243-5153  vicki.watson AT umontana.edu

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STORET 

Data Description:  STORET is EPA’s main water-related database. It is intended to store water chemistry, biological and physical habitat data. Ultimately, it is intended to be able to store whole reports (like 319 & TMDL project reports). Querying the system is not a straightforward process and requires station identification numbers that must be obtained from the MT DEQ data manager (see below). The data manager can also provide you with a protocol for accessing data in STORET.

Contact person:

Jolene Berscheid, Data Manager, Montana Department of Environmental Quality

<JBerscheid AT mt.gov>
406 444-5304

 

Flood-Frequency and Basin-Characteristic Data

Restoration Planning: Useful for channel design in stream restoration projects.

Data Description:  "Flood-frequency data are based on recorded annual peak discharges through 1998. Peak discharges for specified frequencies (exceedence probabilities) were determined by fitting a log-Pearson Type 3 probability distribution to base 10 logarithms of recorded annual peak discharges as described by the Interagency Advisory Committee on Water Data (1982, Guidelines for Determining Flood Flow Frequency--Bulletin 17-B of the Hydrology Subcommittee: U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Water Data Coordination). Note: Data are provisional and user is responsible for assessment and interpretation of flood-frequency data.  Most of the basin characteristic data were measured in the 1970s from the best-scale topographic maps available at the time. Some data, such as mean annual precipitation, soil index data, and mean January minimum temperatures, were compiled from maps prepared by other agencies. Channel widths were measured in the field by USGS personnel." (quoted form the website)

For more detailed information contact Charles Parrett:
Phone: 406-457-5928 or by e-mail.

Basin Characteristic data include:

  • Total stream length, miles

  • Mean basin elevation, ft above msl

  • Percent of basin above 6,000 ft, msl

  • Percent of basin in lakes, ponds, and swamps

  • Percent of basin in forest

  • Soil index, in inches

  • Latitude of gage, in decimal degrees

  • Longitude of gage, in decimal degrees

  • Mean annual precipitation, in inches

  • Precipitation intensity for a 24-hour storm having a 2-year recurrence interval, in inches per hour

  • Mean minimum January temperature, in degrees F

  • Width of active channel, in feet

  • Mean depth for active channel, in feet

  • Width of bankfull channel, in feet

  • Mean depth of bankfull channel, in feet

11 Sites include with flood frequency calculations include:
     12323240   Blacktail Creek at Butte
     12323250   Silver Bow Cr below Blacktail Cr at Butte, MT
     12323300   Smith Gulch near Silver Bow, MT
     12323500   German Gulch Creek near Ramsay, MT
     12323600   Silver Bow Creek at Opportunity, MT
     12323750   Silver Bow Creek at Warm Springs, MT
     12323770   Warm Springs Creek at Warm Springs, MT
     12324100   Racetrack Cr below Granite Cr near Anaconda, MT
     12324200   Clark Fork at Deer Lodge, MT
     12324250   Cottonwood Creek at Deer Lodge, MT
     12324590   Little Blackfoot River near Garrison, MT

     12324680   Clark Fork at Goldcreek, MT
     12324700   Clark Fork Tributary near Drummond, MT
     12324800   Morris Creek near Drummond, MT
     12325500   Flint Creek near Southern Cross, MT
     12329500   Flint Creek at Maxville, MT
     12330000   Boulder Creek at Maxville, MT
     12331600   Clark Fork at Drummond, MT
     12331700   Edwards Gulch at Drummond, MT
     12331900   Clark Fork near Clinton, MT
     12332000   Middle Fork Rock Cr near Philipsburg, MT
     12334510   Rock Creek near Clinton, MT
     12334550   Clark Fork at Turah Bridge near Bonner, MT
     12340000   Blackfoot River near Bonner, MT
     12340200   Marshall Creek near Missoula, MT
     12340500   Clark Fork above Missoula, MT

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Long-term Monitoring of Trace Elements in the Water, Bed Sediment, and Aquatic Biota of the Upper Clark Fork Basin 

Restoration Planning: This information provides a long-term baseline against which we will be able to measure improvements in water, sediment and benthic metals levels as a result of remediation and restoration.

Data Description:  "The USGS samples water quality 6-8 times per year at 15 stations from Butte to Missoula, three of which are daily sediment stations. Water samples are analyzed for trace elements and suspended sediment concentration. Bed sediment and biota are sampled once annually and analyzed for trace metals. Annual loads of trace elements and suspended sediment are calculated to determine transport rates under various hydrologic conditions and to identify the most important source areas contributing metal to the river."  

Not available online:  Information on ordering from the USGS is available here.

PUBLICATIONS:

Lambing, J.H., Hornberger, M.I., Axtmann, E.V., and Pope, D.A., 1994, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1992 through September 1993) and statistical summaries of water-quality data (March 1985 through September 1993) for streams in the upper Clark Fork Basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 94-375, 85 p.

Lambing, J.H., Hornberger, M.I., Axtmann, E.V., and Dodge, K.A., 1995, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1993 through September 1994) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork Basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 95-429, 104 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and Axtmann, E.V., 1996, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1994 through September 1995) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 96-432, 109 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and Axtmann, E.V., 1997, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1995 through September 1996) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-552, 91 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and Axtmann, E.V., 1998, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1996 through September 1997) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 98-407, 102 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and Bouse, R.M., 1999, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1997 through September 1998) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-251, 102 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and David, C.P.C., 2000, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1998 through September 1999) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-370, 102 p.

Dodge, K.A., Hornberger, M.I., and David, C.P.C., 2001, Water-quality, bed-sediment, and biological data (October 1999 through September 2000) and statistical summaries of data for streams in the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-______ (in review)

Hornberger, M.I., Lambing, J.H., Luoma, S.N., and Axtmann, E.V., 1997, Spatial and temporal trends of trace metals in surface water, bed sediment, and biota of the upper Clark Fork basin, Montana, 1985-95: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-669, 84 p.

Lambing, J.H., 1998, Estimated 1996-97 and long-term average annual loads for suspended sediment and selected trace metals in streamflow of the upper Clark Fork basin from Warm Springs to Missoula, Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4137, 35 p.

 

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UM master's theses on water, bed sediment, and aquatic biota Upper Clark Fork Basin

University of Montana Geology Department Theses - Surface and groundwater in the Upper Clark Fork Basin (Not available on-line - UM theses can be borrowed from the Mansfield Library)

BROOK, EDWARD J.     M.S.     1988         Particle-size and chemical control of metals in Clark Fork River bed sediment        

BROOKS, REBEKAH        M.S.     1988       Distribution and concentration of metals in sediments and water of the Clark Fork River floodplain, Montana                        

UDALOY, ANNE G.     M.S. 1988          Arsenic mobilization in response to the draining and filling of the reservoir at Milltown, Montana  

NIMICK, DAVID A.      M.S.     1990        Stratigraphy and Chemistry of Metal- Contaminated Floodplain Sediments, Upper Clark Fork River Valley, Montana             

KUZEL, LAURA S.      M.S.     1993         The Role of Fe and Mn Oxy-hydroxides in Contaminated Coarse-Grained River Sediment     

BENNER, SHAWN G.      M.S.     1994        Geochemical Processes in a Transition Zone Between Surface Water and Acidic, Metal- Rich Groundwater                               

BOGGS, SALLY J.      M.S.     1994         Temporal and Spatial Variability of Metal Concentrations in Fine-Grained Bed Sediments and Benthic Insect Larvae of the Clark Fork River, Montana                      

HELGEN, STEVEN O.    M.S.    1995         Natural Background Determination and  Impact Quantification in Trace Metal  Contaminated River Sediments      

SMART, ERIC W.      M.S.     1995          Surface Water and Groundwater Interaction  In a Shallow Unconfined Alluvial Aquifer and Small Mountain Stream, Silver Bow Creek, Montana

LUCY, JULIETTE K.    M.S.     1996          Hydrologic and Geochemical Controls on Metals Partitioning in the Vadose Zone and Shallow Ground Water Zone of a Highly- Contaminated Floodplain Near Butte, Montana  

BRICK, CHRISTINE      Ph.D.    1996        Temporal Variation of Oxide and Trace Metals in the Upper Clark Fork River, Montana  

DRAKE, GLENNA J.    M.S.     1997          Long Term Variability of Trace Metal Concentrations and Carbon-Metal Relationships in Fine-Grained Sediment of the Upper Clark Fork River, Montana      

LANDRIGAIN, ELIZABETH M.    M.S.     1997    The Effect of Fine-Grained Sediment Remobilization on Metal Concentrations: A Study of Ice Jams on the Clark Fork River, Montana    

SHAY, DEVIN T.        M.S.     1997        An Investigation of the Hydrogeology and Geochemistry of a Floodplain Aquifer System Impacted by Mine Tailings, Silver Bow Creek, Montana

NAGORSKI, SONIA A.   M.S.     1997      Impacts by Acidic, Metals-Rich Groundwater on the Hyporheic Zone of an Intermontane Stream  

CASTRO, JAMES M.     Ph.D.    1998       Pit Lakes: Their Geochemistry and the Potential for their Remediation  

MICKEY, JEREMY W.    M.S.     1998        The Effects of Discharge Variation on Dissolved Element Concentrations through Milltown Reservoir, Montana

Breuninger, Anna B.   M.S.     2000       Effects of Floodplain Remediation on Bed Sediment Contamination in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin, Western Montana           

McKinnon, Temple E.   M.S.     2001      Sources and Seasonal Variability of Metal and Arsenic Concentrations in the Surface Water of the Clark Fork River Basin, Montana