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Scientists to discuss initial results of Northern Coast Ranges groundwater study

Public invited to meeting January 27 in Eureka, CA

Released: 1/10/2011

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists will present their initial results of a groundwater study based on 58 wells sampled from June through November 2009 in portions of Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Del Norte, and Humboldt counties, CA.  The meeting is set for Thursday, January 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, 828 Seventh St, Eureka, CA.

The study was part of the USGS’s National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program and the State Water Resources Control Board’s Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment (GAMA) Program. A nationwide program, NAWQA tracks the status and trends in the quality of freshwater streams and aquifers to provide a sound understanding of the natural and human factors that affect the quality of these resources (http://ca.water.usgs.gov/nawqa.html). The Northern Coast Ranges study fits into a regional assessment NAWQA is doing of coastal groundwater basins throughout California (http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2005/3013/).

The GAMA Program’s Priority Basin Project (http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/gama/) has sought to improve comprehensive statewide groundwater monitoring and to increase the availability of groundwater-quality information to the public. The USGS is the technical lead for the GAMA Priority Basin project, which monitors and assesses the  quality of groundwater used for public supply (http://ca.water.usgs.gov/gama/ ). With the voluntary cooperation of local water agencies and well owners, USGS is testing untreated groundwater in over 2,000 wells in California from 2004 through 2011.

The Northern Coast Ranges study unit includes several California Department of Water Resources-defined groundwater basins in Mendocino, Lake, Napa, Colusa, Glenn, Del Norte, Trinity, and Humboldt counties, including the Smith River Plain, Mad River Valley, Eureka Plain, Fort Bragg Terrace, Ukiah Valley, and Big Valley. While scientists have not completed their full report, they will discuss some of their initial findings at the meeting. Their completed report is expected to be available in the Spring of 2011.

The GAMA Program Priority Basin Project is characterizing raw water quality in groundwater basins and aquifers. GAMA does not evaluate the quality of water delivered to consumers, since public water systems typically treat (or mix) it to meet drinking water standards.

Links and contacts within this release are valid at the time of publication.


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