Mercury and methylmercury stream concentrations in a Coastal Plain watershed: A multi-scale simulation analysis

Environmental Pollution
By: , and 

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Abstract

Mercury is a ubiquitous global environmental toxicant responsible for most US fish advisories. Processes governing mercury concentrations in rivers and streams are not well understood, particularly at multiple spatial scales. We investigate how insights gained from reach-scale mercury data and model simulations can be applied at broader watershed scales using a spatially and temporally explicit watershed hydrology and biogeochemical cycling model, VELMA. We simulate fate and transport using reach-scale (0.1 km2) study data and evaluate applications to multiple watershed scales. Reach-scale VELMA parameterization was applied to two nested sub-watersheds (28 km2 and 25 km2) and the encompassing watershed (79 km2). Results demonstrate that simulated flow and total mercury concentrations compare reasonably to observations at different scales, but simulated methylmercury concentrations are out-of-phase with observations. These findings suggest that intricacies of methylmercury biogeochemical cycling and transport are under-represented in VELMA and underscore the complexity of simulating mercury fate and transport.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury and methylmercury stream concentrations in a Coastal Plain watershed: A multi-scale simulation analysis
Series title Environmental Pollution
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.12.026
Volume 187
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program, South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description 1 p.
First page 182
Last page 192
Country United States
State South Carolina
Other Geospatial McTier Creek Watershed
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N