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Water quality impairment due to high mercury fish tissue concentrations and high mercury aqueous concentrations is a widespread problem in several sub-watersheds that are major sources of mercury to the San Francisco Bay. Several mercury Total Maximum Daily Load regulations are currently being developed to address this problem. Decisions about control strategies are being made despite very large uncertainties about current mercury loading behavior, relationships between total mercury loading and methyl mercury formation, and relationships between potential controls and mercury fish tissue levels. To deal with the issues of very large uncertainties, data limitations, knowledge gaps, and very limited State agency resources, this work proposes a decision analytical alternative for mercury TMDL decision support. The proposed probabilistic decision model is Bayesian in nature and is fully compatible with a "learning while doing" adaptive management approach. Strategy evaluation, sensitivity analysis, and information collection prioritization are examples of analyses that can be performed using this approach.
Additional Publication Details
Incorporating uncertainty in watershed management decision-making: A mercury TMDL case study
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2005 Watershed Management Conference - Managing Watersheds for Human and Natural Impacts: Engineering, Ecological, and Economic Challenges