Agricultural Pesticide Use Estimates for the USGS National Water Quality Network, 1992-2014: Version 2

Metadata Updated: October 9, 2019

The National Water Quality Network (NWQN) for Rivers and Streams includes 113 surface-water river and stream sites monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Program (NWQP). The NWQN represents the consolidation of four historical national networks: the USGS National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN), the National Monitoring Network (NMN), and the Hydrologic Benchmark Network (HBN). The NWQN includes 22 large river coastal sites, 41 large river inland sites, 30 wadeable stream reference sites, 10 wadeable stream urban sites, and 10 wadeable stream agricultural sites. In addition to the 113 NWQN sites, 3 large inland river monitoring sites from the USGS Cooperative Matching Funds program are also included in the NWQN to be consistent with previous USGS studies of nutrient transport in the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin. This data release provides estimated agricultural pesticide use for 83 NWQN watersheds for 116 pesticide compounds from 1992-2014. Pesticide use was not estimated for the 30 wadeable stream reference sites, or for 3 large river coastal sites (07381590, "Wax Lake Outlet at Calumet, LA3"; 07381600, "Lower Atchafalaya River at Morgan City, LA2"; or 15565477, "Yukon River at Pilot Station, AK"). Use was not estimated for reference sites because pesticides are not monitored at reference water-quality sampling sites. Pesticide use data are not available for Alaska and thus no data is available for the Yukon River site. The other two coastal sites (07381590 and 07381600) where use was not estimated are outflow distributaries into the Gulf of Mexico. This data release provides use estimates for the same pesticide parent compounds sampled in water and analyzed by USGS, National Water Quality Laboratory (NWQL), Schedule 2437: Pesticide use data are not available for degradate compounds or for compounds not used in agricultural applications. County-level pesticide use estimates and methods for making the estimates are available on the USGS Pesticide National Synthesis Project (PNSP) page:, County-level estimates are based on farm surveys of pesticide use. Two estimates, EPEST_LOW_KG and EPEST_HIGH_KG, provide a range of values of pesticide use and differ in how they treated situations where surveys were done but pesticide use was not reported for a particular pesticide-by-crop combination. The HIGH method tends to spread estimated use over a larger geographic area. EPEST_LOW_KG annual-use totals can be greater than EPEST_HIGH_KG totals when the LOW method of estimation concentrates the use to a particular area while the HIGH method spreads the use over a larger area. Details on the difference between the two estimates are explained on the PNSP page. There is uncertainty in both the HIGH and LOW estimates that is difficult to quantify. A user should become familiar with the two methods to decide which estimate is best for a specific application. To obtain estimates for NWQN watersheds county-level estimates were proportionally allocated to agricultural land within each NWQN watershed. Zero values indicate that pesticide use was estimated for that watershed but that the total use for the watershed was less than 0.1 kg. Null values indicate that use was not estimated because there was not enough farm survey data available to make an estimate for that particular compound in that watershed. Place holder rows were kept for all compounds and years regardless of whether an estimate was made so that users know which compounds were included in the estimation process. Version 2 of this data release includes pesticide use estimates for glyphosate and glufosinate. These compounds were sampled in water along with Schedule 2437 compounds but were analyzed by USGS, Organic Geochemistry Research Laboratory (OGRL), Glyphosate, AMPA, and Glufosinate Method (LCGY): In addition, duplicate pesticide use values, inadvertently included in the previous version, for site 07144100 "Little Arkansas River near Sedgwick, KS" were deleted. Two compound names, "cis-Permethrin" and "Paraoxon-ethyl", which were labelled incorrectly in the previous version, were changed to "Permethrin" and "Parathion" respectively in Version 2. The total count of pesticide compounds, including glyphosate and glufosinate, for which use is estimated is 116. In the previous version the number of compounds for which use was estimated was listed incorrectly as 110. Data from this release are presented at the USGS Tracking Water Quality page: (Deacon and others, 2015). Use estimates provided here are for the corresponding watersheds and general time period provided in the data release by Deacon and others (2016). Deacon, J.R., Lee, C.J., Norman, J.E., and Reutter, D.C., 2016, Nutrient and pesticide data collected from the USGS National Water Quality Network and previous networks, 1980-2015, U.S. Geological Survey data release, Deacon, J.R., Lee, C.J., Toccalino, P.L., Warren, M.P., Baker, N.T., Crawford, C.G., Gilliom, R.G., and Woodside, M.D., 2015, Tracking water-quality of the Nation’s rivers and streams, U.S. Geological Survey Web page:,

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License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Date February 8, 2017
Metadata Created Date October 9, 2019
Metadata Updated Date October 9, 2019
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2017 (publication)
Frequency Of Update notPlanned

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI CKAN Harvest Source

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date February 8, 2017
Metadata Created Date October 9, 2019
Metadata Updated Date October 9, 2019
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2017 (publication)
Responsible Party USGS (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Use Constraints: Although there are no restrictions or legal prerequisites for using the data, users are advised to read the data set's metadata thoroughly to understand appropriate use and data limitations., Access Constraints: None, however, acknowledgement of the U.S. Geological Survey would be appreciated in products derived from these data.
Bbox East Long -58.095703126298
Bbox North Lat 72.328996908904
Bbox South Lat 6.4458829858152
Bbox West Long -175.16601562163
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update notPlanned
Harvest Object Id 06e55dac-d14e-464c-b9a8-dc98c91c4bec
Harvest Source Id 34ce571b-cb98-4e0b-979f-30f9ecc452c5
Harvest Source Title DOI CKAN Harvest Source
Licence Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Although this information product, for the most part, is in the public domain, it may also contain copyrighted materials as noted in the text. Permission to reproduce copyrighted items must be secured from the copyright owner whenever applicable. The data have been approved for release and publication by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Although the data have been subjected to rigorous review and are substantially complete, the USGS reserves the right to revise the data pursuant to further analysis and review. Furthermore, the data are released on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government may be held liable for any damages resulting from authorized or unauthorized use. Although the data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the U.S. Geological Survey, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system, or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. The U.S. Geological Survey shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein. Users of this data are advised to read all metadata and associated documentation thoroughly to understand appropriate use and data limitations.
Metadata Language
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress completed
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester true
Temporal Extent Begin 1992-10-01
Temporal Extent End 2014-12-31

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