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TIPT: The Tracer Injection Planning Tool

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Created: Mar 25, 2022 at 10:13 p.m.
Last updated: Sep 02, 2022 at 9:56 p.m.
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Sharing Status: Public
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This tool has been published in a peer-reviewed journal. Please cite this work as:

González-Pinzón, R., J. Dorley, J. Singley, K. Singha, M. Gooseff, and T. Covino. 2022. TIPT: The Tracer Injection Planning Tool. Environmental Modelling & Software 156: 105504. doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2022.105504


Despite their frequent use, there are few simple and readily accessible tools to help guide the logistical planning of tracer injections in streams and rivers. We combined the widely used advection-dispersion-reaction equation, peak concentration estimates based on a meta-analysis of hundreds of tracer injections carried out in streams and rivers, and simple mass balances in a dynamic Excel Workbook to 1) help users decide how much tracer mass should be added to achieve a specific dynamic concentration range that reduces known issues associated with breakthrough curve tail truncation, and 2) generate tables and graphs that can be readily used to plan the deployment of resources. Our Tracer Injection Planning Tool, TIPT, handles instantaneous and continuous tracer injections and assumes steady-state and uniform flow conditions, as well as first-order decay or production. While those assumptions do not strictly apply to natural streams and rivers, they help simplify the planning of tracer injections with a predictive ability that is disproportionally favorable with respect to the few inputs required. TIPT is a versatile, user-friendly, and graphical tool that can help design tracer injections and solute transport experiments that are more easily replicated within and across sites. Thus, TIPT contributes directly to advancing Integrated, Coordinated, Open, and Networked (ICON) principles. Similarly, TIPT can help generate datasets that more closely follow Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR) principles.

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Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation Collaborative Research: How do interactions of transport and stoichiometry maximize stream nutrient retention? NSF EAR-1642399, NSF EAR-1642368, NSF EAR-1642402, and NSF EAR-1642403
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological & Environmental Research Physical, resource supply, and biological controls on nutrient processing along the river continuum DE-SC0019424

How to Cite

Gonzalez-Pinzon, R., J. Dorley, J. Singley, K. Singha, M. Gooseff, T. Covino (2022). TIPT: The Tracer Injection Planning Tool, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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