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Research Technical Report

A Report Card of Water Quality for the Elkhorn Slough Estuary in 2013

Mercado, L., J. Haskins, and R. Preisler (June 2014)

Elkhorn Slough Technical Report Series 2014:1

Available at: http://www.elkhornslough.org/research/bibliography_tr.htm

ABSTRACT

In order to create a report card that describes the current status of Elkhorn Slough Estuary's waters, we analyzed Elkhorn Slough Reserve's water quality data from 2013. We selected nine parameters measured monthly at 24 sites, and searched the literature for appropriate thresholds. Our scoring systems examined the scope, frequency and magnitude with which thresholds were exceeded and produced composite index values (ranging from 0 to 100) as well as letter grades for each sampled site and each parameter. The resultant values were spatially interpolated to generate thematic maps that provide a visual, simplified representation of water quality data analysis. These scores and maps can be used by community members and decision-makers to identify areas of least and most concern. Overall, this report card is a tool intended to help advance knowledge about Elkhorn Slough water quality issues and encourage voluntary and regulatory actions to improve it. While our approach provides a meaningful summary of overall water quality, it cannot replace the detailed analysis of environmental monitoring data nor should it be used as the only tool for management of water bodies.