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Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Salton Sea area, California, 1986-87

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4102

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Abstract

Water, bottom sediment, and biota were sampled during 1986 and 1987 in the Salton Sea area to determine concentrations of trace elements and pesticides as part of the Department of Interior Irrigation Drainage Program. The sampling sites (12 water, 15 bottom sediment, and 5 biota) were located in the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. The focus of sampling was to determine the current or potential threat to the wildlife of the Salton National Wildlife Refuge from irrigation projects sponsored or operated by the Department of the Interior. Results of the investigation indicate that selenium is the major element of concern. Elevated concentrations of selenium in water were restricted to tile-drain effluent. The maximum selenium concentration of 300 microg/L was detected in a tile-drain sample, and the minimum concentration of 1 microg/L was detected in a composite sample of Salton Sea water. The median selenium concentration was 19 microg/L. In contrast to the water, the highest bottom-sediment selenium concentration of 3.3 mg/kg was in a composite sample from the Salton Sea. The selenium detected in samples of waterfowl and fish also are of concern, but, to date, no studies have been done in the Salton Sea area to determine if selenium has caused adverse biological effects. Concentrations of boron and manganese were elevated in tile-drain samples throughout the Imperial Valley. Boron concentrations in migratory waterfowl were at levels that could cause reproduction impairment. Elevated concentrations of chromium, nickel, and zinc were detected in the Whitewater River , but they were not associated with irrigation drainage. Organochlorine pesticide residues were detected in bottom sediment throughout the study area at levels approaching those measured more than 10 years ago. More detailed studies would be needed to determine if these residues are affecting the waterfowl. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in the Salton Sea area, California, 1986-87
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4102
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1990
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
v, 68 p. :ill. ;28 cm.