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Dataset for modeling spatial and temporal variation in natural background specific conductivity

Metadata Updated: November 12, 2020

This file contains the data set used to develop a random forest model predict background specific conductivity for stream segments in the contiguous United States. This Excel readable file contains 56 columns of parameters evaluated during development. The data dictionary provides the definition of the abbreviations and the measurement units. Each row is a unique sample described as R** which indicates the NHD Hydrologic Unit (underscore), up to a 7-digit COMID, (underscore) sequential sample month. To develop models that make stream-specific predictions across the contiguous United States, we used StreamCat data set and process (Hill et al. 2016; The StreamCat data set is based on a network of stream segments from NHD+ (McKay et al. 2012). These stream segments drain an average area of 3.1 km2 and thus define the spatial grain size of this data set. The data set consists of minimally disturbed sites representing the natural variation in environmental conditions that occur in the contiguous 48 United States. More than 2.4 million SC observations were obtained from STORET (USEPA 2016b), state natural resource agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Information System (NWIS) system (USGS 2016), and data used in Olson and Hawkins (2012) (Table S1). Data include observations made between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2015 thus coincident with Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data ( Each observation was related to the nearest stream segment in the NHD+. Data were limited to one observation per stream segment per month. SC observations with ambiguous locations and repeat measurements along a stream segment in the same month were discarded. Using estimates of anthropogenic stress derived from the StreamCat database (Hill et al. 2016), segments were selected with minimal amounts of human activity (Stoddard et al. 2006) using criteria developed for each Level II Ecoregion (Omernik and Griffith 2014). Segments were considered as potentially minimally stressed where watersheds had 0 - 0.5% impervious surface, 0 – 5% urban, 0 – 10% agriculture, and population densities from 0.8 – 30 people/km2 (Table S3). Watersheds with observations with large residuals in initial models were identified and inspected for evidence of other human activities not represented in StreamCat (e.g., mining, logging, grazing, or oil/gas extraction). Observations were removed from disturbed watersheds, with a tidal influence or unusual geologic conditions such as hot springs. About 5% of SC observations in each National Rivers and Stream Assessment (NRSA) region were then randomly selected as independent validation data. The remaining observations became the large training data set for model calibration.

This dataset is associated with the following publication: Olson, J., and S. Cormier. Modeling spatial and temporal variation in natural background specific conductivity. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, USA, 53(8): 4316-4325, (2019).

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: See this page for license information.

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Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from EPA ScienceHub

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Publisher U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Data Last Modified 2018-06-14
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 020:00
Schema Version
Data Dictionary
Data Dictionary Type application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document
Harvest Object Id e008a8fd-f507-48f0-981c-81c36ef701f2
Harvest Source Id 04b59eaf-ae53-4066-93db-80f2ed0df446
Harvest Source Title EPA ScienceHub
Program Code 020:096
Publisher Hierarchy U.S. Government > U.S. Environmental Protection Agency > U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Related Documents
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash d96bf15282072d404d6881af0199fc82e50c13df
Source Schema Version 1.1

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