USGS Washington Water Science Center
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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), in its 2000 Biological Opinion for the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project (CBIP) in eastern Washington, asked for a determination of whether pesticides are present in irrigation return flows at levels that may harm or adversely affect salmon and steelhead species listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. As the major resource manager of the CBIP, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) is tasked with this action of the biological opinion.
To help the USBR meet this action, the USGS is determining the concentrations of selected pesticides at four CBIP return-flows sites during irrigations seasons through 2004. The USGS will sample water from four surface-water sites in the CBIP at twelve specific time periods throughout each irrigation season. The USGS is conducting this work in conjunction with ongoing USGS work in the Columbia Basin under the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program. The NAWQA program has developed procedures for sampling and analyzing pesticides in surface water that assure high-quality, representative data for many commonly used pesticides. Using NAWQA procedures also assures compatibility with other NAWQA data, from both the Columbia Basin and other NAWQA study units across the nation.