Submitted to: National Speleological Society Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Urbanization and agricultural land-use activities represent potential threats to the water quality and ecosystem integrity of Devils Icebox and Hunters caves in Boone County, MO. Land use within the Devils Icebox watershed is primarily agricultural and urban while Hunters Cave is predominantly agricultural and forested. Since these cave systems have very similar geologic and hydrologic settings, the impact of different land-use on water quality can be compared. Year-round monitoring was initiated in April, 1999 with the objective of characterizing the current water quality status of the main cave streams relative to nutrient, herbicide, and coliform bacterial contamination. In addition, hydrogeo- logic parameters (dissolved oxygen), pH, temperature, specific conductance, and turbidity) are being monitored at 15 minute intervals. Water sampling for contaminants entails grab samples under baseflow at regular intervals, and runoff event sampling using automated sampling equipment. Chemical analyses include total and inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus and many of the common soil-applied corn and soybean herbicides such as atrazine, cyanazine, metolachlor, alachlor, acetochlor, and triazine metabolites. Bacterial coliform analyses include quantitation of total and fecal coliforms on a quarterly basis. The presentation will focus on the dynamics of contaminant transport and a summary of the hydrogeologic parameters for the project's first year. In addition, overall contaminant concentrations and trends in the basic water quality parameters will be compared between the two cave systems.