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West Virginia Water Research Institute’s (WVWRI) Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) Program provides data to United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for model validation

                                                  Photo of map showing regions with studied rivers.
Location of water quality sampling sites (n=6) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) gauging stations (n=4) used to characterize and predict spatio-temporal variability in total dissolved solids (TDS) within 8 digital hydrologic unit code (HUC) watersheds comprising the upper Monongahela River basin.

Having our data used to validate the work of others is extremely satisfying. More so, when the other organization is the USACE and the scope of the work is laying strong foundations in our future. 

Through relationships with the West Virginia University School of Natural Resources and USACE, 3RQ provided over ten years of total dissolved solids (TDS) to calibrate and validate models developed by USACE and WVU Forestry, published in a Special Issue for Integrated Water Resources Research: Advancements in Understanding to Improve Future Sustainability in the journal, Water. The article, entitled “Flow-Mediated Vulnerability of Source Waters to Elevated TDS in an Appalachian River Basin,” discusses threats to freshwater ecosystems from widespread salinization (e.g. TDS).  

WVWRI has been collecting data since July 2009, in response to high TDS events on the Monongahela River. With a small amount of seed funding through the United States Geological Survey’s 104b program, the WVWRI began a routine monitoring regime on the Monongahela, in search of the source of sudden high TDS. Through support from the Colcom Foundation, the WVWRI water monitoring program on the Monongahela grew (e.g. becoming 3RQ) to cover the Upper Ohio River Basin (e.g. Monongahela, Allegheny, and Upper Ohio River). To access the full article through the Water Journal, please click here.