USGS Investigators: Kim Beisner
NPS Investigators: Jeremy Moss
Start Year: 2022
NPS Park: Pecos National Historical Park
USGS Center: New Mexico Water Science Center
Pecos National Historical Park (PECO) not only provides visitors opportunities to hike, fish, and camp, but also has a rich history that makes the park unique. Because of its location, the Pecos River area was one of the most powerful northern New Mexican pueblos. One of the reasons PECO is significant in a global, national, regional, and system-wide context is because of the Upper Pecos River Watershed that creates a riparian/wetland habitat that is a rare ecosystem in the arid Southwest.
Unfortunately, these precious resources are being impaired by water pollution from upstream wastewater treatment plants. The PECO protects a three-mile reach of the Pecos River and the confluence with Glorieta Creek within the park. Two wastewater treatment plant facilities (WWTP) are located upgradient of water resources in PECO and pose a threat to the park’s aquatic life, and possibly to visitors. Water-quality issues have been documented in Glorieta Creek downstream of the Glorieta WWTP in the recent past.
PECO managers need to understand the magnitude of contamination from each WWTP contributing water to Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River within the park. Information on contaminants is needed by the park to manage fish populations and plan for expanded trail access to water resources.
The goal of this study is to understand the anthropogenic influence on water quality of Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River. The objectives are to collect water-quality samples using discrete, active, and passive techniques. Samples will be analyzed for major ions, nutrients, bacteria, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, and chemicals of emerging concern at sites in Glorieta Creek and the Pecos River.