The major tributaries draining the Kendrick Reclamation Project (KRP) account for an average of 52% of the total Se load measured in the North Platte River downstream from Casper, Wyoming. The Casper Creek drainage basin contributed the largest Se load of the five tributary sites to the North Platte River. The 4-d average Se concentration in water samples from one site in the part of the North Platte River that receives irrigation return flows exceeded the 5 ??g/l U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's aquatic life criterion five time during a 50-d monitoring period in 1989. In agreement with the water-quality data, muscle and liver tissue rom rainbow trout collected from the same part of the North Platte River had Se concentrations exceeding levels known to cause reproductive failure and chronic Se poisoning. On the basis of Se: Cl, 18O/16O and D/H ratios in water from Goose and Rasmus Lee Lakes (closed-basin systems), the large Se concentrations in those lakes were derived by natural evaporation of irrigation water without leaching of soluble forms of Se from soil or rocks. Water samples from Thirtythree Mile Reservoir and Illco Pond (flow-through systems) showed considerable enrichment in Se over evaporative concentration, presumably due to leaching and desorption of Se from soil and rock. The Se: Cl ratios of irrigation drain water collected from the KRP indicate that leaching and desorption of soluble forms of Se from soils and rocks are the dominant processes in drain water. Results of a Wilcoxon matched-pairs test for 43 paired drain-water samples collected during June and August 1988, indicated there is a statistically larger concentration of Se (0.01 significance level) during the June sampling period. The larger concentrations of Se and other chemical constitutents during the early part of the irrigation season probably were due to dissolution of seleniferous salts that have accumulated in soils within the KRP since the last irrigation season. The large Se concentrations in water samples from wetland sites in the KRP were reflected in the aquatic-bird food chain. Most waterfowl and shorebirds nesting at the KRP showed Se concentrations in livers and eggs greater than levels suspected of causing adverse reproductive effects. ?? 1993.
Additional publication details
Selenium source identification and biogeochemical processes controlling selenium in surface water and biota, Kendrick Reclamation Project, Wyoming, U.S.A.