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Reconnaissance investigation of water quality, bottom sediment, and biota associated with irrigation drainage in and near Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Churchill County, Nevada, 1986-87

Water-Resources Investigations Report 89-4105

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Abstract

A reconnaissance was initiated in 1986 to determine whether the quality of irrigation-drainage water in and near the Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Nevada, has caused or has potential to cause harmful effects on human health, fish, wildlife, or other beneficial uses of water. Samples of surface and groundwater, bottom sediment, and biota were collected from sites upstream and downstream from the Fallon agricultural area in the Carson Desert, and analyzed for potentially toxic trace elements. Other analysis included radioactive substances, major dissolved constituents, and nutrients in water, and pesticide residues in bottom sediment and biota. In areas affected by irrigation drainage, the following constituents were found to commonly exceed baseline concentrations or recommended criteria for protection of aquatic life or propagation of wildlife: In water, arsenic, boron, dissolved solids, molybdenum, sodium, and un-ionized ammonia; in bottom sediments, arsenic, lithium, mercury, molybdenum, and selenium; and in biota, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, mercury, selenium, and zinc. In some wetlands, selenium and mercury appeared to be biomagnified, and arsenic bioaccumulated. Pesticides contamination in bottom sediments and biota was insignificant. Adverse biological effects observed during this reconnaissance included gradual vegetative changes and species loss, fish die-offs, waterfowl disease epidemics, and persistent and unexplained deaths of migratory birds. (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 and near Stillwater Wildlife Management Area, Churchill County, Nevada, 1986-87
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
89-4105
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1990
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
viii, 150 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.