The United States and Canada agreed to restore the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem under the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. The lowest reach of the Genesee River and the Rochester Embayment on Lake Ontario between Bogus Point and Nine Mile Point, including Braddock Bay, were designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) due to effects of contaminated sediments and physical disturbance on several beneficial uses. Following sediment remedial efforts and with conditions improving in the AOC, the present study was conducted to reevaluate the status of the benthic macroinvertebrate (benthos) beneficial use impairment (BUI). Benthic macroinvertebrate community assessments and 10-day Chironomus dilutus bioassays were used to test the hypotheses that sediments within the AOC were no more toxic than sediments from surrounding reference areas. The study was separated into three discrete systems (Genesee River, Lake Ontario, and Braddock Bay) and non-parametric analyses determined that a multimetric index of benthic macroinvertebrate community integrity was significantly higher at AOC sites compared to reference sites on the Genesee River and in Braddock Bay while AOC and reference sites on Lake Ontario did not differ significantly. Survival and growth of C. dilutus were also similar between AOC and reference sites for each system with the exception of significantly higher growth at reference sites on Lake Ontario. Results generally indicated that the condition of benthos and toxicity of sediment of the Rochester Embayment AOC are similar to or better than that in the surrounding area.
Additional publication details
Assessing condition of macroinvertebrate communities and bed sediment toxicity in the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern, New York, USA