Water Quality Division
Blue Thumb Program
Volunteer Data Interpretation
Site #1 Site #2
NE SE SW Section 23-24N-24E SE NW SE Section 24-24N-24E
Delaware County Delaware County
Lat N 36.65222° Lat N 36.54431°
Long W 94.71053° Long W 94.68820°
WBID OK 121600-03-0445J WBID OK121600-03-0445N
Blue Thumb Volunteer Monitoring Data Review - Session #1, December 6, 2006
This document is a review of five years of data collection.
Description of Watershed and Monitoring Sites
Honey Creek is in the Ozark Highlands and Central Irregular Plains Ecoregions in the Grand Lake watershed. Honey Creek begins in Arkansas, flows northwest into Missouri, and then continues west into Oklahoma and Grand Lake. The Honey Creek watershed is approximately 50 square miles. Approximately sixty percent of the watershed is located in Oklahoma. The land use in the watershed is predominately agriculture, mostly improved pasture for livestock. There is also poultry in the area. Approximately seventy percent of the stream miles run through pastureland. The stream does pass through the city of Southwest City, MO.
Both sites are located on Honey Creek about a mile apart. Site #1 is down stream from site #2 and about two miles upstream from the Honey Creek arm of Grand Lake. Previous studies, 1995 and 2000, have indicated high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and pathogens in the stream likely coming from a point source and from non-point source animal and human waste. The 2000 study suggested that the septic systems used in the area may not be adequate for the region’s highly permeable soils.
Stream Condition & Habitat Overview
The sites were compared to reference streams in the area that were known to be high quality. As compared, both sites have a good habitat rating and appear to be in good shape. The banks are fairly stable with good vegetation and tree coverage. The habitat is fairly healthy. Most of the channel is not altered. The water is clear and the bottom is rocky. The stream is a low flow stream and is not very curvy. Most is ankle deep, with the deepest parts being around 2 meters. On site 1, out of the sampling length of 400 meters, 75% of the stream is run, and the balance is divided equally between pool and riffle. Site 2 is composed of 18% run, 62% pool, and 20% riffle.
Based on fish counts (diversity and quantity) both streams rate equal to the reference streams and are equal to an average high quality Ozark Highland stream. The condition gets an A rating on a scale of A to E for biological sampling. Fish were collected in August 2002 on Site #1 and in August 2004 on Site #2. Both sites contained 8 different intolerant species.
Benthic Macroinvertebrates (bugs)
Both locations were sampled for macroinvertebrates in the summer and winter index periods. While there were differences between the locations, there were consistencies in the data.
Site 1 scored an A over the five year average for both the summer and winter counts, equal to the Ozark Highland reference. The winter score, while an A average, was six percentage points lower than the reference. Site 2 scored an A for the summer average and a B for the winter average, which was twenty-five percentage points lower than the reference. Both locations received their lowest scores in the winter 2001 and winter 2003 counts. Whatever conditions caused the reduction in macroinvertebrate score at site 2 had somewhat diminished downstream at site 1.
The counts indicate that the stream has a good macroinvertebrate community. There is high diversity within the community. There are good numbers of sensitive types and also a good balance between sensitive and tolerant taxa.
DO. Dissolved oxygen % saturation was mainly in the acceptable range (80-130%) at both sites. Site 2 did have low readings (30% range) two months in a row in the summer of 2003 and a total of seven readings below the 80% threshold (20% of the all samples).
pH pH readings ranged from 7.5 to 8.5 at both sites. A range of pH 6.5 to pH 8.2 is optimal for most organisms.
Nitrogen. The two sites vary on nitrate levels. Site 1 averaged 0.8 mg/l with a high of 1.75 mg/L. Site 1 exceeded the 0.8 mg/L target 50% of the time. At site 2, no samples tested under 1.0 mg/L. The high reading was 3.7 mg/L. The average of all samples was 1.9 mg/L. Total nitrogen levels should be below 0.8 mg/L for a quality stream.
Phosphorus. Orthophosphate levels averaged 0.136 mg/L. at site 1, well above the 0.1 mg/L target. Site 1 exceeded the target 64% of the time. Site 2 averaged 0.09 mg/L, but exceeded the target 53% of the time. While 0.1 mg/L would be typical of a quality Ozark Highland stream, the US EPA recommends levels of no more than 0.05 mg/L for streams discharging into reservoirs.
Chloride. An Ozark Highland stream would be expected to have a chloride content of 50 mg/L of less. Site 1 averaged 62 mg/L. Site 2 averaged 66 mg/L. These levels are of no concern.
Honey Creek is a beautiful, clean, free flowing stream that currently equals the habitat and biology of an Ozark Highland stream. However, the low winter macroinvertebrate counts and low summer dissolved oxygen readings along with the high nitrogen and phosphorus scores are a concern for the maintenance of this quality rating in the future.