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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 41 No. 2, p. 554-563
    Received: Sept 28, 2011

    * Corresponding author(s): thomas.desutter@ndsu.edu
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Water Quality, Sediment, and Soil Characteristics near Fargo-Moorhead Urban Areas as Affected by Major Flooding of the Red River of the North

  1. A. C. Guya,
  2. T. M. DeSutter *b,
  3. F. X. M. Caseyb,
  4. R. Kolkac and
  5. H. Hakk
  1. a Fort Berthold Community College, New Town, ND 58763
    b Dep. Soil Science, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND 58108
    c Center for Research on Ecosystem Change, Northern Research Station, United States Forest Service, Grand Rapids, MN 55744


Spring flooding of the Red River of the North (RR) is common, but little information exits on how these flood events affect water and overbank sediment quality within an urban area. With the threat of the spring 2009 flood in the RR predicted to be the largest in recorded history and the concerns about the flooding of farmsteads, outbuildings, garages, and basements, the objectives of this study, which focused on Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN, were to assess floodwater quality and to determine the quantity and quality of overbank sediment deposited after floodwaters recede and the quality of soil underlying sediment deposits. 17β-Estradiol was detected in 9 of 24 water samples, with an average concentration of 0.61 ng L−1. Diesel-range organics were detected in 8 of 24 samples, with an average concentration of 80.0 μg L−1. The deposition of sediment across locations and transects ranged from 2 to 10 kg m−2, and the greatest mass deposition of chemicals was closest to the river channel. No gasoline-range organics were detected, but diesel-range organics were detected in 26 of the 27 overbank sediment samples (maximum concentration, 49.2 mg kg−1). All trace elements detected in the overbank sediments were within ranges for noncontaminated sites. Although flooding has economic, social, and environmental impacts, based on the results of this study, it does not appear that flooding in the RR in F-M led to decreased quality of water, sediment, or soil compared with normal river flows or resident soil.

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Copyright © 2012. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.