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Organochlorine compounds and trace elements in fish tissue and bed sediments in the lower Snake River basin, Idaho and Oregon

Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4103

Prepared in cooperation with Idaho Power Company
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Abstract

Fish-tissue and bed-sediment samples were collected to determine the occurrence and distribution of organochlorine compounds and trace elements in the lower Snake River Basin. Whole-body composite samples of suckers and carp from seven sites were analyzed for organochlorine compounds; liver samples were analyzed for trace elements. Fillets from selected sportfish were analyzed for organochlorine compounds and trace elements. Bed-sediment samples from three sites were analyzed for organochlorine compounds and trace elements. Twelve different organochlorine compounds were detected in 14 fish-tissue samples. All fish-tissue samples contained DDT or its metabolites. Concentrations of total DDT ranged from 11 micrograms per kilogram wet weight in fillets of yellow perch from C.J. Strike Reservoir to 3,633 micrograms per kilogram wet weight in a whole-body sample of carp from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River. Total DDT concentrations in whole-body samples of sucker and carp from the Snake River at C.J. Strike Reservoir, Snake River at Swan Falls, Snake River at Nyssa, and Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River exceeded criteria established for the protection of fish-eating wildlife. Total PCB concentrations in a whole-body sample of carp from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River also exceeded fish-eating wildlife criteria. Concentrations of organochlorine compounds in whole-body samples, in general, were larger than concentrations in sportfish fillets. However, concentrations of dieldrin and total DDT in fillets of channel catfish from the Snake River at Nyssa and Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River, and concentrations of total DDT in fillets of smallmouth bass and white crappie from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River exceeded a cancer risk screening value of 10-6 established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Concentrations of organochlorine compounds in bed sediment were smaller than concentrations in fish tissue. Concentrations of p,p'DDE, the only compound detected in all three bed-sediment samples, ranged from 1.1 micrograms per kilogram dry weight in C.J. Strike Reservoir to 11 micrograms per kilogram dry weight in Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River. Data from this study, compared with data collected in the upper Snake River Basin from 1992 to 1994, indicates that, in general, organochlorine concentrations in fish tissue and bed sediment increased from the headwaters of the Snake River in Wyoming downstream to Brownlee Reservoir. The largest trace-element concentrations in fish tissue were in liver samples from carp from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River and suckers from the Boise River near Twin Springs. Concentrations of most trace elements were larger in livers than in the sport- fish fillets. However, mercury concentrations were generally larger in the sportfish fillets; they ranged from 0.08 microgram per gram wet weight in yellow perch from C.J. Strike Reservoir to 0.32 microgram per gram wet weight in channel catfish from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River. None of the trace-element concentrations in fillets exceeded median international standards or U.S. Food and Drug Administration action levels. Large trace-element concentrations in the upper Snake River Basin were reported in liver samples from suckers from headwater streams, probably a result of historical mining and weathering of metal-rich rocks. Concentrations of most trace elements in the bed-sediment samples were largest in Brownlee Reservoir at Mountain Man Lodge. Concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, and zinc in bed sediment from the Mountain Man Lodge site exceeded either the threshold effect level or probable effect level established by the Canadian Government for the protection of benthic life. Arsenic, chromium, copper, and nickel concentrations in bed sediment from Brownlee Reservoir at Burnt River and chromium, copper, and nickel in bed sediment from C.J. Strike Reservoir also exceeded the threshold effect level.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Organochlorine compounds and trace elements in fish tissue and bed sediments in the lower Snake River basin, Idaho and Oregon
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
98-4103
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Idaho Water Science Center
Description:
iv, 35 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Idaho;Oregon;Wyoming
City:
King Hill;Boise;Marsing;Weiser;Riggins
Other Geospatial:
Snake River;Salmon River
Scale:
1000000