Tributary Data Download

What’s new?

  • River data files and analytical template now operate in Excel programs of Office 2007 and Office 2010.
  • Four new rivers have been added, giving a total of 15 rivers and 126,000 samples.
  • The analytical template has been revised to AnalysisMonthlyv5, which includes two new graphing programs, a monthly tabular output, and capability of selecting months for graphing programs.
  • Sulfate, silica and conductivity have been added to the chemical parameter selections.
  • All river data files include period of record samples and are updated on a quarterly basis as new data become available.

Tributary Loading Program Background

In 1974, the Water Quality Laboratory initiated a program of detailed sample collection and analyses for a set of Lake Erie tributaries as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Erie Wastewater Management Study. The objective of the study was to determine the total quantities (loads) of nutrients and suspended sediments moving from watersheds through major tributaries and into Lake Erie. That program has expanded to become the major research and monitoring focus of what is now the National Center for Water Quality Research (NCWQR) at Heidelberg University. It represents the most detailed and long-term program of its type in the United States and serves multiple roles in nonpoint pollution research, education, modeling, and adaptive management.

Tributary Loading Program Funding

Financial support for the Tributary Loading Program has come from many sources over the years, including state, federal and local agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations and industries. For the most recent sources of funding for current stations see the NCWQR Annual Reports that can be accessed from the front page of the NCWQR website.

Funding for This Website

This micro-site was developed through grants from the National Machinery Foundation and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission's Lake Erie Protection Fund (SG 243-05). The intent of the grant was to make the data sets available to all who may benefit from their use, as well as to help users analyze and interpret the data. The November 2011 Revisions to the Website have been supported, in part, by a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation toward the operation of the tributary loading program.

Important Note for those who download data from this site
It is intended that the Excel river data files be downloaded to the user's own computer where the data sets can be analyzed and explored with the aid of a macro-driven Excel program whose current version is named AnalysisMonthlyv5. Users are, of course, free to examine and utilize data in the RiverData files using their own analysis and graphing programs. However, users are hereby advised that samples collected and analyzed within the NCWQR's tributary loading system utilize stratified sampling techniques. The AnalysisMonthlyv5 program takes into account this stratified sampling in all of its calculations. If users ignore the stratified sampling, certain of the results and graphs will likely be very misleading and will fail to reflect the "reality" our program attempts to monitor.

There are two parts to the Tributary Data web access:

  • Part 1: User’s Guide with tutorials (.pdf files) that:
    • provide background information on the tributary loading program sample collection and chemical analysis procedures;
    • describe and offer interpretations of the various graphs and the summary report produced by the AnalysisTemplatev3 and its successor, AnalysisMonthlyv5;
    • relate the data to various current scientific, sampling and policy issues related to the assessment and management of Ohio’s water resources.
  • Part 2: River data files and data analysis program includes:
    • the RiverData files for each of 16 stations included in the monitoring program;
    • the AnalysisMonthlyv5 Excel program that generates various types of graphs as well as annual and monthly summary reports from the RiverData files
    • a pdf file tutorial on how to use the AnalysisTemplatev3 (Also applicable to AnalysisMonthlyv5)

Note: Since this download function is Excel-based, you must be able to download and open Excel spreadsheet files on your computer.

Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

As part of an EPA Targeted Watershed Grant, we submitted a Quality Assurance Project Plan that described all of the procedures that we use in our tributary loading program. It includes descriptions of sample collection, handling, analyses and quality control measures, as well as data management.

Quality Assurance Project Plan for the Honey Creek Targeted Watershed Project, Assistance Agreement No. WS – 00E39901–0.

User Comment Instructions

We welcome comments and suggestions from users of this website. In making comments regarding the content of any of the tutorials, please reference the name of the tutorial; the date of the tutorial posting, as shown in the upper right corner of the tutorial. All tutorials consist of discrete pdf files.

If you have questions regarding data points from the river data files or the AnalysisMonthlyv5 outputs, please contact us. All comments, general and specific, should be directed to David B. Baker (


Site Credits

  • David B. Baker prepared the various tutorials currently available from this website.
  • R. Peter Richards and Jack W. Kramer assembled and screened the RiverData files available from this website.
  • Mark D. Baker developed and programmed the AnalysisTemplatev3 Excel workbook.
  • Sean M. Joyce assembled the hardware and software used to support this website.