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Biogeochemical cycling of selenium in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA

Environmental Management

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Abstract

Subsurface agricultural drainage waters from western San Joaquin Valley, California, were found to contain elevated concentrations of the element selenium in the form of selenate. In 1978, these drainage waters began to replace previous input to Kesterson Reservoir, a pond system within Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge; this substitution was completed by 1982. In the 1983 nesting season, unusual rates of deformity and death in embryos and hatchlings of wild aquatic birds (up to 64% of eared grebe and American coot nests) occurred at the refuge and were attributed to selenium toxicosis. Features necessary for contamination to have taken place included geologic setting, climate, soil type, availability of imported irrigation water, type of irrigation, and the unique chemical properties of selenium. The mechanisms of biogeochemical cycling raise questions about other ecosystems and human exposure.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Biogeochemical cycling of selenium in the San Joaquin Valley, California, USA
Series title:
Environmental Management
Volume
11
Issue:
6
Year Published:
1987
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
805-821
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
805
Last page:
821
Number of Pages:
17