The USGS, WRD National Research Program (NRP) and the Water Discipline at the Alaska Science Center have been cooperating to collect baseline and process-based water quality data in the Yukon River Basin (2001-2005) as part of a research-based NASQAN study to understand the Basin’s response to climate change.
Climatic warming of the Yukon River Basin is resulting in lengthening of the growing season, melting of permafrost, and deepening of the soil active layer. These and related processes are anticipated to result in changes in water and sediment chemistry and discharge in upcoming decades. A better understanding of baseline trends and processes controlling the water quality of the Yukon River and its tributaries will facilitate the proper management of resources as conditions change in response to environmental change. As a first step in understanding the these changes, the USGS is monitoring water discharge and making water and sediment chemistry measurements on the Yukon River and all of its major tributaries.