Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Long Term Resource Monitoring


folder.gifLa Crosse field station

Water Quality

Standardized water quality sampling conducted by staff of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Mississippi River Monitoring Field Station at La Crosse is comprised of the following:

  • Biweekly or monthly sampling at 18 fixed sites in Pools 7-9, including six tributaries to Pools 7-9, three backwater sites, and several inflows and outflows of Pool 8.
  • 150 randomly selected sites sampled during four intensive, two-week episodes per year (i.e., winter, spring, summer, and fall, for a total of 600 random sites per year). The random sites are stratified by aquatic areas, which are loosely associated with habitat types.

Water quality parameters monitored during both types of sampling include:

  • In situ (on-site) measurements or observations of water velocity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, Secchi disk transparency, ice cover and thickness, snow depth, vegetation cover and density, substrate type, wave height, and water depth.
  • Laboratory analysis of turbidity, suspended and volatile solids, chlorophyll a, phosphorus (total and soluble reactive), nitrogen (total and dissolved inorganic), dissolved silica, chloride, and metals (sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium).

More specific information needed to interpret LTRMP water quality data can be found at the following link: (water quality data format file.) Water quality data can be downloaded in text format at this site as well (water quality data browser).

WDNR Kraig Hoff
Kraig Hoff filters river water samples for chorophyll and suspended solids after a day in the field.

WQ staff

La Crosse Field Station water quality staff log data continuously at certain backwater sites in winter to assess limnological conditions under ice. This work led to the discovery that in certain backwaters, under-ice conditions are influenced by changes in main-channel water levels in addition to known influences such as the amount of ice and snow at the surface.

WQ staff


La Crosse Field Station Team Leader
Telephone: (608) 781-6360
Fax: (608) 783-6066

WQ staff
Water quality staff calibrate our multi-parameter datasondes immediately before and after each fixed-site or random-site monitoring day on the river.

WDNR Shawn Giblin
Shawn Giblin enters water quality data in the field on a laptop computer.

WQ Staff

Water quality staff collect samples all year. This can be especially challenging in winter when wind-chill in open areas can be extreme and ice can be treacherous.

WQ Staff WQ staff

WQ staff
A water quality staff member prepares to deploy a datasonde unit in a quiet backwater full of lilypads.


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

Page Last Modified: April 3, 2018 US Army Corps of Engineers USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center US Fish and Wildlife Service U.S. Environmental Protection Agency U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Minnesota DNR Wisconsin DNR Iowa DNR Illinois Natural History Survey Missouri DC