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Colorado River below Lady Bird Lake: Alluvium Case Study of Pathogens

This study investigates pathogen movement between the Colorado River below Lady Bird Lake and its adjuacent alluvial aquifer.

Background

Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in downtown Austin. The segment of the river immediately downstream, the Colorado River below Lady Bird Lake, has been impaired due to elevated bacteria since 2006.

A 2009 study conducted on this segment indicated that dam operations alter the hydrological dynamics of riparian aquifers. However, little is known about how this connectivity affects the movement of pollutants between surface water and groundwater.

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Project Description

This case study investigates pathogen movement between the river and alluvial aquifer of the Colorado River below Lady Bird Lake. Data from river and groundwater sampling was used to evaluate mixing of surface water and groundwater and their pollutants. 

The 2009 study was conducted in the same area during a period when daily dam releases were much greater than the releases in the current study. As a result, the two projects can't be directly compared. However, findings from this study may provide insight into these interactions in river segments with similar dam-influenced flows.

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Documents

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For More Information

To find out more about the NPS Program, call 512-239-6682 or e-mail us at nps@tceq.texas.gov.

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