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Water quality; Mississippi River; St. Cloud (Minn.)


ABSTRACT - Water quality parameters were monitored in the Mississippi River and three tributaries (Harris Channel, Watab Creek, and Sauk River) from July 1980 to April 1981. Results were correlated with water temperature and discharge to assess seasonal changes. Effects of tributary inflow on the river were determined. Planktonic carbon was estimated with the firefly luciferin-luciferase system which measures adenosine triphosphate extracted from viable cells. Particulate organic matter, planktonic carbon, and percentage viable carbon were correlated with temperature (p ~ 0.6) while nitrate plus nitrite was inversely correlated with temperature and discharge. Only the Sauk River affected the water quality of the Mississippi River by adding elevated levels of dissolved electrolytes, total phosphorus, particulate organic matter, and planktonic carbon. Relatively low levels of planktonic carbon (155 μg/1) in the river indicated good water quality. Seasonal changes in water quality parameters of rivers must be considered in designing useful monitoring programs.

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