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Detailed study of irrigation drainage in and near wildlife management areas, west-central Nevada, 1987-90; Part B, Effect on biota in Stillwater and Fernley Wildlife Management Areas and other nearby wetlands

Water-Resources Investigations Report 92-4024-B

By:
,

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Abstract

A water-quality reconnaissance study during 1986-87 found high concentrations of several potentially toxic elements in water, bottom sediment, and biota in and near Stillwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This study prompted the U.S. Department of the Interior to initiate a more detailed study to determine the hydrogeochemical processes that control water quality in the Stillwater WMA, and other nearby wetlands, and the resulting effects on biota, especially migratory birds. Present wetland size is about 10% of historical size; the dissolved- solids load in the water in these now-isolated wetlands has increased only moderately, but the dissolved-solids concentration has increased more than seven-fold. Wetland vegetation has diminished and species composition in flow water has shifted to predominant salt-tolerant species in many areas. Decreased vegetative cover for nesting is implicated in declining waterfowl production. Decreases in numbers or virtual absence of several wildlife species are attributed to degraded water quality. Results of toxicity tests indicate that water in some drains and wetland areas is acutely toxic to some fish and invertebrates. Toxicity is attributed to the combined presence of arsenic, boron, lithium, and molybdenum. Biological pathways are involved in the transport of mercury and selenium from agricultural drains to wetlands. Hatch success of both artificially incubated and field-reared duck eggs was greater than/= 90 percent; no teratogenesis was observed. Mercury in muscle tissue of waterfowl harvested from Carson Lake in October 1987 exceeded the human health criterion six-fold.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Detailed study of irrigation drainage in and near wildlife management areas, west-central Nevada, 1987-90; Part B, Effect on biota in Stillwater and Fernley Wildlife Management Areas and other nearby wetlands
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
92-4024
Chapter:
B
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1993
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports Section [distributor],
Description:
84 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.