Kesterson Reservoir (Kesterson) received subsurface agricultural drainwater containing high levels of salts and selenium from farmland in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The accumulation of selenium in wetlands and waterfowl foods at Kesterson was investigated during May, August, and December of 1984. High concentrations of selenium were found in water, sediments, terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, and aquatic insects. Mean selenium concentrations in aquatic plants and insects ranged from 1.5 to 170 (ug/g dry weight and were about 11 to 290 times those found at a nearby reference site. Concentrations in some waterfowl food plants and insects at Kesterson were up to 64 times those reported to be a health hazard to birds. Selenium concentrations were more seasonally variable in aquatic plants than in aquatic insects. Few differences in selenium accumulation were found among ponds. Deposition of selenium in plant parts was not uniform; rhizomes contained higher concentrations than seeds and leaves were intermediate. Most biota bioaccumulated maximum selenium concentrations that were 1,000 to nearly 5,000 times the concentration in the water.
Additional Publication Details
Selenium in wetlands and waterfowl foods at Kesterson Reservoir, California, 1984
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology