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Chronic toxicity of un-ionized ammonia to early life-stages of endangered Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius) and razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) compared to the surrogate fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

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, , ,
DOI: 10.1007/s00244-004-0223-9

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Abstract

Ammonia-contaminated groundwater enters the Upper Colorado River from beneath the abandoned Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Pile near Moab, Utah. This reach of the Upper Colorado River was designated as critical habitat for four endangered fish species because it is one of the few existing areas with known spawning and rearing habitats. Un-ionized ammonia (NH3) concentrations frequently exceed 1.00 mg/L in backwaters adjacent to the tailings pile, which exceeds the Utah 30-d average chronic water quality criterion for un-ionized ammonia (0.07 mg/L NH3; temperature 20??C; pH 8.2) by a factor of more than 10. However, there is little published information regarding the sensitivity of endangered fishes to ammonia. We conducted 28-d static renewal studies with post-swim-up larvae to determine the relative sensitivity of Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), and the standard surrogate fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) to NH3. Chronic values (ChVs) for mortality and growth were determined as the geometric mean of the no observed effect concentration and the lowest observed effect concentration based on analysis of variance. The ChVs for growth of fathead minnow, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker were 0.43, 0.40, and 0.67 mg/L NH3, respectively. The ChVs for mortality of fathead minnow, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker were 0.43, 0.70, and 0.67 mg/L NH3, respectively. Therefore, the ChVs for mortality and growth were similar for fathead minnow and razorback sucker; however, the ChV for growth was lower than the ChV for mortality for Colorado pikeminnow. Maximum likelihood regression was used to calculate 28-d lethal concentrations (LCx) for each species. The 28-d LC50, LC20, and LC1 values for fathead minnow were 0.69, 0.42, and 0.13 mg/L NH3, respectively. The 28-d LC50, LC20, and LC1 values for Colorado pikeminnow were 0.76, 0.61, and 0.38 mg/L NH3, respectively. The 28-d LC50, LC20, and LC1 values for razorback sucker were 0.54, 0.38, and 0.25 mg/L NH3, respectively. The fathead minnow, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker are relatively similar in sensitivity and rank at the 35th, 49th, and 31st percentiles, respectively, of the theoretical chronic fish sensitivity distributions for NH3. The existing water quality criteria for NH3, if met by remediation activities at the Moab site, would be protective of these endangered fishes even if fish sensitivity is based on the conservative LC1 value. ?? 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Chronic toxicity of un-ionized ammonia to early life-stages of endangered Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius) and razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) compared to the surrogate fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
Series title:
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
DOI:
10.1007/s00244-004-0223-9
Volume
49
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
378
Last page:
384
Number of Pages:
7