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Rick Dinicola,
Associate Director, WA Water Science Center,
934 Broadway,
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402

(dinicola@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1603

Steve Cox,
Hydrologist,
934 Broadway,
Suite 300
Tacoma, WA 98402

(secox@usgs.gov)
(253) 552-1623
graphic line

Lake Roosevelt-Upper Columbia River

Project Summaries

  
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DH2T1 - Impacts of Slag on Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon - Completed FY2011

Problem - The white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt is in decline. Resource managers for the Lake Roosevelt ecosystem need information about the factors and processes responsible for the decrease in abundance of the white sturgeon. These fish spawn and rear in the riverine and upper reservoir portion of the lake where smelter slag is present. Casual effects of slag on the white sturgeon population are largely unknown, but two recent studies demonstrated that copper, which is present in significant concentrations in slag, can be mobilized from slag and that copper was highly toxic to 30-d-old white sturgeon with 96-h LC50 concentrations ranging from 3 to 5 g Cu/L. Older juvenile and adult sturgeon ingest substantial amounts of sediment while foraging. Thus, fish foraging in slag-contaminated sediments likely have slag particles in their guts. The physical properties of slag (sharp, glassy, angular particles) may have detrimental effects on the gut as they pass through the spiral intestine. Taken together these studies suggest that slag may likely have adverse effects on white sturgeon.

Objectives - The objective of the proposed study is to determine whether metal contaminants, particularly Cu, derived from slag smelter waste are responsible for the decline in the white sturgeon population. Our strategy is to determine cause and effect by combining results of studies that 1) evaluate the physical and chemical characteristics of white sturgeon habitat, 2) examine the diet of white sturgeon collected in Lake Roosevelt, and 3) assess metal toxicity from studies with sturgeon fry and metal-enriched slag.

Relevance and Benefits - The proposed work will have significant relevance to DOI partners (NPS, USBR, BIA, FWS) and the Spokane and Colville tribes and state agencies who have significant resource management and trust responsibilities in the Lake Roosevelt area. This work will provide information to EPA and associated parties involved with the ongoing RI/FS for the area. The proposed project also fits well within the USGS Science Strategy because it uses hydrology, geochemistry, and fisheries biology to examine the complex interactions among contaminants and threatened biota in the Lake Roosevelt ecosystem.

Approach - Three primary work elements will be pursued to accomplish study objectives.

  1. Identify river/reservoir reach where adult white sturgeon are active

    Past coarse-scale telemetry studies have shown that white sturgeon seasonally occupy the Marcus Flats reach. In 2008, the WDFW will install an array of data-logging acoustic receivers that, after post-processing the tagged-fish detection data, should be capable of resolving fish positions to within 5-20 m. The USGS will assist in this effort by providing up to 8 additional receivers for their use. In addition, the USGS may deploy and operate a real-time positioning system should the need for greater spatial coverage or real-time information on fish movements be needed. The positioning technologies will provide information on diel movements and focal areas in the Marcus Flats area for use in comparing with physical characteristics of the environment.
  2. Characterize physical condition of Marcus Flats

    A digital elevation model (DEM) and sediment facies map will be developed for Marcus Flats using multibeam sonar echo sounder equipped with real-time motion and integrated GPS positioning. Videography will be used to collect images of the river bottom and characterize sediment type concurrent with collection of sonar data. Samples of bed material will be collected over representative bedforms distinguished by the sonar data and slag content will be quantified. At multiple cross sections, (3 to 6) the spatial distribution of water flow velocities will be measured using an acoustic Doppler current profiler. The time-averaged mean concentration of dissolved labile copper and other trace metals in near bottom water above slag beds will be measured using Diffusive Gradient Thin films (DGT). The DGT samplers will be deployed for 1 to 7 days in regions of slow-moving flow over slag containing and non-slag containing sediments. At each location, DGTs will be positioned at the bed surface and at several distances above the bed to observe potential vertical variability.
  3. Slag-sturgeon interactions

    Gut content analysis will be performed on up to 100 larval and juvenile sturgeon caught during sampling conducted by WDFW. Gut contents will be separated into organic and inorganic fractions. The organic fraction will be examined and prey items identified. Slag content of the inorganic fraction (which may contain 50-70% sediment) will be determined by point count. The gut lining of stomachs containing slag particles will be examined using tissue histology and compared to guts from fish not exposed to slag particles (e.g fish reared in hatcheries). Toxicity and avoidance studies will be conducted with early life stages of white sturgeon (newly hatched fry during the hiding stage and about 30-days post hatch fry that are actively feeding). The objective of these studies will be to determine if there are physical or chemical characteristics of slag that may result in toxicity or avoidance of sturgeon exposed to slag. These studies will complement longer-term exposures of early life stage sturgeon to field collected water or sediment samples from Lake Roosevelt (associated with the ongoing RI/FS). Sturgeon fry will be provided by WDFW.

9722-DH2T1 - Proposal for interdisciplinary investigation of the occurrence and potential impacts of slag on Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)

Problem - The white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt is in decline. Resource managers for the Lake Roosevelt ecosystem need information about the factors and processes responsible for the decrease in abundance of the white sturgeon. These fish spawn and rear in the riverine and upper reservoir portion of the lake where smelter slag is present. Casual effects of slag on the white sturgeon population are largely unknown, but two recent studies demonstrated that copper (Cu), which is present in significant concentrations in slag, can be mobilized from slag and that copper was highly toxic to 30-day-old white sturgeon with 96-h LC50 concentrations of Cu ranging from 3 to 5 g Cu/L. Older juvenile and adult sturgeon ingest substantial amounts of sediment while foraging. Thus, fish foraging in slag-contaminated sediments likely have slag particles in their guts. The physical properties of slag (sharp, glassy, angular particles) may have detrimental effects on the gut as they pass through the spiral intestine. Taken together these studies suggest that slag may likely have adverse effects on white sturgeon.

Objectives - The objective of the proposed study is to determine whether metal contaminants, particularly Cu, derived from slag smelter waste are responsible for the decline in the white sturgeon population. Our strategy is to determine cause and effect by combining results of studies that 1) evaluate the physical and chemical characteristics of white sturgeon habitat, 2) examine the diet of white sturgeon collected in Lake Roosevelt, and 3) assess metal toxicity from studies with sturgeon fry and metal-enriched slag.

Relevance and Benefits - The proposed work will have significant relevance to DOI partners (NPS, USBR, BIA, FWS) and the Spokane and Colville tribes and state agencies who have significant resource management and trust responsibilities in the Lake Roosevelt area. This work will provide information to EPA and associated parties involved with the ongoing RI/FS for the area. The proposed project also fits well within the USGS Science Strategy because it uses hydrology, geochemistry, and fisheries biology to examine the complex interactions among contaminants and threatened biota in the Lake Roosevelt ecosystem.

Approach - Three primary work elements will be pursued to accomplish study objectives.

  1. Identify river/reservoir reach where adult white sturgeon are active

    Past coarse-scale telemetry studies have shown that white sturgeon seasonally occupy the Marcus Flats reach. In 2008, the WDFW will install an array of data-logging acoustic receivers that, after post-processing the tagged-fish detection data, should be capable of resolving fish positions to within 5-20 m. The USGS will assist in this effort by providing up to 8 additional receivers for their use. In addition, the USGS may deploy and operate a real-time positioning system should the need for greater spatial coverage or real-time information on fish movements be needed. The positioning technologies will provide information on diel movements and focal areas in the Marcus Flats area for use in comparing with physical characteristics of the environment.
  2. Characterize physical condition of Marcus Flats

    A digital elevation model (DEM) and sediment facies map will be developed for Marcus Flats using multibeam sonar echo sounder equipped with real-time motion and integrated GPS positioning. Videography will be used to collect images of the river bottom and characterize sediment type concurrent with collection of sonar data. Samples of bed material will be collected over representative bedforms distinguished by the sonar data and slag content will be quantified. At multiple cross sections, (3 to 6) the spatial distribution of water flow velocities will be measured using an acoustic Doppler current profiler. The time-averaged mean concentration of dissolved labile copper and other trace metals in near bottom water above slag beds will be measured using Diffusive Gradient Thin films (DGT). The DGT samplers will be deployed for 1 to 7 days in regions of slow-moving flow over slag containing and non-slag containing sediments. At each location, DGTs will be positioned at the bed surface and at several distances above the bed to observe potential vertical variability.
  3. Slag-sturgeon interactions

    Gut content analysis will be performed on up to 100 larval and juvenile sturgeon caught during sampling conducted by WDFW. Gut contents will be separated into organic and inorganic fractions. The organic fraction will be examined and prey items identified. Slag content of the inorganic fraction (which may contain 50-70% sediment) will be determined by point count. The gut lining of stomachs containing slag particles will be examined using tissue histology and compared to guts from fish not exposed to slag particles (e.g fish reared in hatcheries). Toxicity and avoidance studies will be conducted with early life stages of white sturgeon (newly hatched fry during the hiding stage and about 30-days post hatch fry that are actively feeding). The objective of these studies will be to determine if there are physical or chemical characteristics of slag that may result in toxicity or avoidance of sturgeon exposed to slag. These studies will complement longer-term exposures of early life stage sturgeon to field collected water or sediment samples from Lake Roosevelt (associated with the ongoing RI/FS). Sturgeon fry will be provided by WDFW.

4565-9VL - The Effects of Trace Elements on Water Quality and Biological Health in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreational Area: Columbia River - Completed FY2006

Problem - The Lake Roosevelt National Recreational Area is heavily contaminated with trace elements that were discharged to the Columbia River from mining activities. In 1992, the USGS reported that concentrations of cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc in surficial sediments were elevated to the point of causing biological impairment. Contamination of Lake Roosevelt sediments is a concern to the National Park Service due to its management responsibilities in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreational Area, which includes many of the shoreline areas surrounding Lake Roosevelt. The lands that the NPS manages on Lake Roosevelt contain many aquatic species that may be greatly affected by these contaminants, along with wildlife that depend on the system. While there has been a reduction in point source discharge of metals to the upper Columbia River, there is a substantial quantity of metals residing in the bottom sediments of Lake Roosevelt. The threat from the remobilization and availability of metals may be most pronounced in shallow, backwater habitats that are dominated by fine-grained sediment and higher biological productivity. Given that the USGS study was completed 10 years ago and the reservoir is being managed differently, it is important for the NPS to re-evaluate the threat of trace elements to natural resources.

Objectives - The objective of this study is to define the movement of trace elements from the sediment to the overlying water column and biota. The study will also assess the uptake of these trace elements in the biota and the toxicity of the sediment to the biota.

Relevance and Benefits - The USGS Strategic Plan (https://www.usgs.gov/stratplan/stratplan_rev/) has a Mission Goal of improving the understanding of our Environment and Natural Resources. USGS activities meeting this goal deal with the physical, chemical, and biological processes in nature and with the interactions of human activities with natural systems. The USGS Washington Water Science Center Science Plan identifies a general need to better understand the fate and transport of metals and other chemicals in aquatic and biological systems, and a specific need to understand the movement of sediment and chemicals through reservoirs. This project fits well into those mission goals and plans by addressing the movement of trace elements from the sediment into the overlying water column and resident biota. The information from this project will help the National Park Service and other Lake Roosevelt stakeholders better understand and manage water resources of Lake Roosevelt with regards to the sediment chemistry. The work will have transfer applications to other other reservoirs with similar sediment characteristics.

Approach - Due to the extensive size and complexity of the Lake Roosevelt system, this study will involve a 3-year period. Year 1 will include two tasks: a retrospective study and detailed mapping of existing contaminantand toxicity data will be conducted, a reconnaissance of sites for evaluating potential species for bioaccumulation, identifying suitable backwater habitats, and a sediment metal screening will be conducted at 15-20 sites. This reconnaissance will identify shallow, backwater habitats that contain lower trophic-level organisms and span the range of environmental conditions observed throughout Lake Roosevelt. Based upon these data, 7-10 shallow, backwater habitats will be selected for conducting the remainder of the study, which will occur during Year 2. Year 2 will include a process-oriented study in which the mobility, bioavailability, bioaccumulation and toxicity of metals in the sediments are studied. Year 3 will include completion of all laboratory analyses, data analyses, interpretation, and publication of the study. This study will focus on the shallow nearshore and backwater habitats along the system from the Canadian Border to Grand Coulee Dam.

9722-A4L - Occurrence And Distribution of Trace Elements In Air Along Lake Roosevelt: A Pilot Study - Completed FY2006

Problem - Lake Roosevelt, formed on the Columbia River by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, is heavily contaminated with trace elements that were discharged as slag material from a smelter in Canada. A recent U.S. Geological Survey study reported that Lake Roosevelt bed sediments were contaminated with high concentrations of trace elements, and that these high levels were impairing benthic invertebrate communities. While the majority of studies have focused on contaminants in water, sediment, and fish, there is recent concern over the potential threat of airborne contaminants to human health. During the spring and fall, the reservoir water level decreases substantially and exposes extensive reaches of contaminated sediments. Trace metals associated with the fine-grained fraction of the exposed, dry, bed sediment materials have a high potential for entrainment into the lower atmosphere by wind gusts. Once airborne, the dust particles can be carried downwind various distances depending on their size and the magnitude and duration of the prevailing winds throughout the Lake Roosevelt airshed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently stated that airborne contaminants in the Lake Roosevelt area may be of concern to human health and has recommended additional studies.

Objectives - This study will determine the occurrence, concentrations, distribution, and seasonal variability of select trace elements on airborne dust particles at several locations along Lake Roosevelt; compare the composition and concentrations of airborne trace elements in the ambient atmosphere to that of high wind events occurring during the winter/spring and fall reservoir draw-down periods; and determine, to the extent possible, what percent of the measured concentration of airborne trace elements originated from exposed beach, bed, and bank sediments.

Relevance and Benefits - This study is a cooperative effort among the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Lake Roosevelt Water Quality Council (LRWQC), and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). This study will increase our understanding of the fate and transport of trace element contamination in the Lake Roosevelt system by determining the occurrence, concentrations, distribution, and seasonal variability of select trace elements in airborne dust. As such, it addresses both the National USGS goals of understanding hydrologic resources, and USGS Washington Water Science Center goals of understanding chemical transport related to reservoirs, as outlined in the District Science Plan. The information provided by this study can also be used to assess the potential impact of airborne trace elements on both human and environmental health.

Approach - The objectives will be accomplished by measuring trace element concentrations in dust samples before, during, and after the drawdown of the reservoir, and by comparing the occurrence, composition, and concentration of trace elements in the airborne dust samples to the results of a previous study that sampled exposed bed sediments along the entire length of Lake Roosevelt.

9722-A4M - Assessment of Trace-Element Concentrations in Sediment Cores and Rates of Sediment Accumulation in Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake - Completed FY2004

Problem - Trace-element contamination is known to be widespread throughout surficial bed sediments of Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (Lake Roosevelt), but only limited information is available about its distribution below the sediment surface. Because the current understanding of the extent of contamination is based solely on surficial bed-sediment data, the extent of trace-element contamination in Lake Roosevelt may be underestimated. In other contaminated lakes, large concentrations of trace elements in bed sediments have been shown to be a significant source of contamination to the overlying lake water; whether or not contaminated bed sediments constitute a source of contamination to the overlying water of Lake Roosevelt is not known. Information is also lacking about the presence and distribution of smelter-produced slag particles in the middle and lower reaches of Lake Roosevelt. The presence of these particles was shown in previous work to correlate with trace-element contamination in bed sediments in the upper reaches of Lake Roosevelt.

Objectives - The general objectives of this study are to gather and analyze data to better understand the three-dimensional extent of trace-element contamination of the bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt and to determine if trace-element contamination of the bed sediments has the potential to contaminate the water column and benthic environment of the reservoir.

Relevance and Benefits - An important part of the USGS mission is to provide scientific information to manage the water resources of the Nation and to enhance and protect our quality of life. The USGS Washington Water Science Center Science Plan specifically recognizes a need in the state to better understand the movement of sediment and chemical transport in reservoirs. Information gained in this study will improve the understanding of the distribution, variation, and process of remobilization of trace-element contamination buried in bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt. Findings regarding contaminant remobilization processes will help in the understanding of similar contaminant sources in reservoirs and lakes elsewhere in the Nation. Lake Roosevelt is a National Recreation Area bounded by two Tribal Reservations and, therefore, there is a significant Federal interest in this work. Understanding the degree of the trace-element contamination problem and how contamination may transfer from the bed sediments to the water column concerns important quality-of-life issues for local residents, including the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Spokane Tribe, and regulatory agencies such as the Washington State Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Approach - Eight to ten sediment cores will be collected in slack-water sections of the middle and lower reaches of Lake Roosevelt and four to six of these will be sampled at selected intervals for the purposes of age-dating with the Cesium-137 method, determining trace-element concentrations (including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc), and measuring grain-size and slag content. Sampling results will be analyzed to meet the study objectives and the results will be documented in a journal article and USGS Fact Sheet.

9722-A4J - Occurrence and Distribution of Trace Elements in Lake Roosevelt Beach and Bank Sediments - Completed FY2003

Problem - Lake Roosevelt was formed on the Columbia River by the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, and extends a total of 217 km to within 24 km of Canada The lake is heavily contaminated with trace elements that were discharged as slag material from a smelter in Canada; approximately 360 metric tons were discharged per day from 1900 to 1998. A study by the USGS reported that Lake Roosevelt bed sediments were contaminated based upon high concentrations, impaired benthic invertebrate communities, and laboratory sediment bioassays. While the majority of studies have focused on contaminants in water, sediment, and fish, there is recent concern over the potential threat of airborne contaminants to human health. Trace metal concentrations associated with the fine-grained fraction have high potential for entrainment into the lower atmosphere by wind gusts. Once airborne, the dust particles are carried downwind various distances depending on their size and the magnitude and duration of the prevailing winds. During the spring, the reservoir water level decreases substantially and exposes extensive reaches of contaminated sediments that, upon drying, may easily be transported via the prevailing wind throughout the Lake Roosevelt area. The U.S. EPA recently stated that airborne contaminants in Lake Roosevelt area may be of concern to human health and has recommended additional studies.

Objectives - The objective of this study is to provide the foundation for designing an air quality assessment in Lake Roosevelt planned for 2002 by determining the concentrations of trace elements in the fine-grained fraction of exposed beach, bed, and bank sediments from Grand Coulee Dam to the Canadian border.

Relevance and Benefits - The Lake Roosevelt area is surrounded by two Tribal Reservations (Colville Confederated Tribes and Spokane Tribe) and the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (NRA). Tribal people, along with many local citizens and visitors, use this area extensively. The combination of its high use and contamination has greatly increased the need for understanding the fate, transport, and effects of contaminants to both human and environmental health. Results from this study are critical to the design of a follow-up air quality study to address airborne trace elements.

Because this study will integrate with a study of airborne transport of metals on dust particles, it is aligned with the USGS strategic action of taking an integrated approach to the study of contaminated environments. Describing and better understanding the movement of sediment in reservoirs is also one of the program development areas listed in the USGS Washington Water Science Center Science Plan.

Approach - The concentrations of trace elements in fine-grained surficial sediment will be collected using two different, but complementary, sampling designs. A targeted sampling design will be used to determine the concentrations of trace elements at known areas of high wind erosion; whereas, a spatially distributed sample design will be used to make a broad assessment of the spatial distribution of sediment associated trace elements along Lake Roosevelt shorelines.

WA427 - Development of a Sediment Quality Program for the Upper Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt - Completed FY1999

Background - Concerns about water quality in Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River first surfaced from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife study in the early 1980s that reported elevated concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and zinc in fish. Follow up studies identified the primary source of the contamination to be a lead-zinc smelter on the Columbia River in British Columbia, 16 km upstream from the international boundary. The smelter had discharged several hundred tons per day of blast furnace slag and effluent into the Columbia River since the 1950s. At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Lake Roosevelt Water Quality Council (LRWQC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initiated a large-scale sediment quality study in 1992. The USGS reported that bed sediments were contaminated, as indicated by elevated concentrations of metals (arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc), laboratory toxicity, and altered benthic invertebrate communities. In addition, a 1994 USGS study determined that mercury in sportfish was elevated to levels high enough to trigger a Washington Department of Health consumption advisory.

Due in part to the studies done in Canada and Washington State, the lead/zinc smelter in Canada has stopped discharging slag and reduced its effluent discharge. While this is a significant improvement in the loadings of metals to the system, large quantities of contaminated sediments remain in Lake Roosevelt, and therefore studies are still in progress. For example, the Colville Confederated Tribes is funding a USGS study to determine if mercury in walleye has decreased since the 1994 study. Also, the EPA is presently funding a USGS study in the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane River Basins as part of a Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) of the Coeur d'Alene system. The primary objective of that study is to determine the relative contribution of metals to the Spokane River from the Lake Coeur d'Alene system.

While metals have received the most attention, organochlorine compounds are also of concern, due to their persistence and established role in causing adverse environmental effects; human health effects of organochlorine compounds are more controversial. The particular organochlorines of concern are dioxins, furans, and PCBs. In 1988 and 1990, Canadian studies reported large concentrations of furans in fish collected in the Columbia River downstream of a pulp mill near Castlegar, British Columbia. The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) confirmed that fish from Lake Roosevelt contained elevated furan concentrations, but that concentrations of dioxins and furans generally decreased as one moves downstream away from Canada. In a 1992 study, the USGS reported that dioxins and furans were present in suspended sediment collected from the Columbia River, but only a few of the 17 targeted isomers were detected. The form of dioxin most toxic to some laboratory animals was not detected. Aside from dioxins and furans, few of the many other organic compounds associated with wood-pulp waste, urban runoff, and industrial activities were detected in the bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt and its major tributaries.

There is generally less known about PCBs than about the dioxin and furan compounds. In 1993-94, Ecology reported that PCBs were detected in most fish samples from the Spokane River, and that concentrations were highest in fish collected from the Spokane River above Spokane, but below the Idaho boarder.

In 1994, the EPA funded a study to determine the potential human health risks posed by concentrations of dioxins, furans, and PCBs in species of fish collected and consumed by people throughout Lake Roosevelt. That study did find that dioxins and furans were present in fish, but that concentrations did not differ from the upper Columbia River to Grand Coulee Dam. There has been no human health statements release from the EPA PCB study. In a follow-up study, the USGS is presently determining if organochlorine compounds, including both dioxins and furans, and PCBs, have decreased in sportfish fillets since the EPA study four years ago. This study was requested by the Lake Roosevelt Water Quality Council and Colville Confederated Tribes; the Spokane Tribe collected the fish as part of their fisheries program.

Objectives - The objective of this project is for the USGS to provide technical assistance for the design of a sediment quality program in the upper Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt system.

WA421 - Organochlorine Compounds and Mercury in Fish Tissue from Lake Roosevelt and the Upper Columbia River - Completed FY1999

Problem - Although there are a number of resource issues on Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River, one of the dominant concerns has been the effect of contaminants on human health. Of the trace elements, mercury is of concern to human health in Lake Roosevelt because it can bioconcentrate in edible fish fillets. A 1994 study by the USGS to determine the concentrations of mercury in fish fillets (Munn et al., 1995, Munn and Short 1997) resulted in the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) issuing a consumption advisory for walleye in Lake Roosevelt (Erwin and Munn 1997).

The organochlorine compounds of greatest concern to human health in this area are dioxins and furans from pulp mill discharge and PCBs from various industrial activities. The most recent study on dioxin and furan in fish tissue was conducted in 1994 by Tetra Tech at the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EVS Consultants 1998). This study reported that although dioxin and furan still occur in fish, concentrations appear to be decreasing; PCBs were also detected, but there were insufficient data for determining trends.

Objectives - Determine the concentrations of selected organochlorine compounds (dioxin, furan and PCBs) and mercury in edible fish tissue from Lake Roosevelt in order to compare to previously measured concentrations.

Approach - Walleye will be collected from both the upper and lower reaches of Lake Roosevelt using the same methods outlined in Munn et al. (1995). The primary difference is that individual fillets will be analyzed instead of composite samples, with the concentration of mercury compared to previous results presented in Munn et al. (1995). Lake whitefish will be collected from the upper reaches of the system and analyzed for dioxins and furans; whereas, native and hatchery rainbow trout will be collected from both the upper and lower reaches and analyzed for dioxins/furans and PCBs. These data will be compared to past studies.

WA392 - Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Walleye, FDR Lake, Washington - Completed FY1997

Problem - Past and ongoing studies of water resources on the upper Columbia River and Lake Roosevelt have raised human health concerns related to the bioaccumulation of trace elements in edible fish tissue. Of the trace elements examined in past studies, mercury is presently believed to be the element that most likely poses a threat to human health. However, there is some concern for arsenic, cadmium, copper, magnesium, lead, selenium, and zinc. Past data have also shown that of the sportfish caught in Lake Roosevelt and consumed, walleye have the highest concentrations of mercury in the system. Rainbow trout is the second most important game fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Lake Roosevelt Water Quality Council requested that the U.S. Geological Survey design and carry out a study on the bioaccumulation of selected trace elements in walleye and rainbow trout.

Objectives - This proposal consists of a primary and secondary objective. The primary objective is to determine the relation between the concentration of mercury in edible fish tissue and size of walleye, with the information to be used for assessing risk to human health. The secondary objective is to determine the concentrations of other trace elements in walleye and rainbow trout for assessing the risk to human health.

Approach - To address the first objective, walleye will be collected from several locations in the reservoir. There will be three stations, four size classes, and six composite samples per size class. Seven fish fillets will be combined for each composite sample. Additional data will be collected on each fish including age, length, weight, and sex. Analaysis will include developing a regression model to determine the relation of size/age to the concentration of mercury. The Washington State Department of Health will use the data for a human health risk assessment. The second objective will involve collecting three composite samples of walleye and three composite samples of rainbow trout with the samples analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, copper, magnesium, mercury, lead, selenium, and zinc. This information will permit the Washington State Department of Health to determine if any of these additional trace elements might be a threat to human health.

WA384 - Toxics-Related Water Quality of Lake Roosevelt, Washington - Completed FY1995

Problem - Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam, is the largest reservoir in Washington. In addition to hydropower production, Lake Roosevelt provides irrigation water and public recreation. The lake is included in the Coulee Dam National Recreation Area and attracts recreationists in large numbers for fishing, swimming, and boating. Lake Roosevelt provides the Colville and Spokane Indian Tribes with significant economic opportunities. Water quality problems were largely unknown until 1985 when studies by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife showed elevated concentrations of cadmium and lead in fish. In recent years concerns have been raised about the existence of chlorinated dioxin and furan compounds. The lake's contamination is suspected to originate from point-source discharges from a complex of Canadian industries situated along the Columbia River in the province of British Columbia. A great deal of information is needed to develop and implement a lake management plan. Although studies have been conducted in the past, no comprehensive or integrated assessment of the extent and significance of toxic chemical or nutrient contamination of Lake Roosevelt has been performed on which to base sound water-quality management decisions. Given its size and importance as a resource, surprisingly little is known about Lake Roosevelt as an ecosystem. For example, sediment, nutrient, and chemical contamination loads entering the reservoir through the mainstem Columbia River and the other major tributaries have not been quantified. The lake's physical, chemical, hydrological, and biological characteristics and processes are not well defined. Furthermore, it is not known what role these basic characteristics play in (1) determining the extent or degree of environmental degradation; (2) influencing the distribution and fate of contaminants within the reservoir; or (3) transporting contaminants into the lower Columbia River system.

Objectives - The overall objective of the study is to characterize the extent and significance of toxic chemical contamination in the lake sediments and water. The USGS will perform tasks related to bed-sediment analysis, sediment bioassays, mainstem organic compound and trace element sampling. Specific objectives for each of these tasks are as follows: Bed-Sediment Analysis-- (1) document distributions and concentrations of selected trace elements, including metals, in bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt; (2) identify factors that affect the distribution and concentration of trace elements in lake bed sediments; (3) identify major sources of trace elements to the lake; (4) document the existence of selected organic compounds in lake bed sediments; and (5) characterize benthic invertebrate communities that reside in Lake Roosevelt and determine if the distribution and concentrations of chemical contaminants in the lake are related to patterns of observed benthic invertebrate communities. Sediment Bioassays--(1) determine the direct toxicity of bed sediment and sediment pore water to bioluminescent bacteria, and (2) determine the lethal and sublethal effects of contaminated bed sediments using two different organisms. Mainstem Sampling--(1) determine the concentration of dioxin and furan compounds in water and suspended sediment samples obtained from discharge-weighted samples; (2) determine trace elements concentrations in water and sediment samples obtained from discharge-weighted samples; (3) calculate a daily load of trace elements and dioxin and furan compounds entering Lake Roosevelt; and (4) compare results obtained from discharge-weighted samples to samples obtained from a single sampling point.

Approach - Samples will be collected to determine concentrations of selected trace elements (including metals) in bed sediments of Lake Roosevelt and tributaries. Identifying factors that affect the distribution and concentrations of trace elements in lake-bed sediments will be one of the key objectives. Some bed-sediment samples will also be analyzed for concentrations of selected organic compounds. This task will include determining the distribution of benthic invertebrates (for example, worms, insects, snails, and crayfish) and determining if the distribution and concentration of trace elements and organic compounds relate to patterns observed in benthic invertebrate communities. Trace element and dioxin and furan compound loads to the lake from the mainstem Columbia River at Northport will be quantified. Loads for both water and suspended-sediment phases will be determined for these constituents at low flow. These data will be compared to the allowable total daily maximum load for dioxin of 2.3 milligrams per day set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Columbia River as it crosses the Washington-British Columbia border. Toxicity tests will be conducted to determine whether sediment and water in contact with bed sediment will cause direct toxicity to biota. The tests will use bioassays that expose test species to sediment and pore water under laboratory conditions. This information will be used in conjunction with tissue analysis to assess toxicity impact on biota. A project quality-assurance/quality-control plan will be done as an oversight document.

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