Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GBNPP), Alaska, like many pristine high latitude areas, is exposed to atmospherically deposited contaminants such as mercury (Hg). Although the harmful effects of Hg are well established, information on this contaminant in southeast Alaska is scarce. Here, we assess the level of this contaminant in several aquatic components (water, sediments, and biological tissue) in three adjacent, small streams in GBNPP that drain contrasting landscapes but receive similar atmospheric inputs: Rink Creek, Salmon River, and Good River.
Twenty water samples were collected from 2009 to 2011 and processed and analyzed for total mercury and methylmercury (filtered and particulate), and dissolved organic carbon quantity and quality. Ancillary stream water parameters (discharge, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, and temperature) were measured at the time of sampling. Major cations, anions, and nutrients were measured four times. In addition, total mercury was analyzed in streambed sediment in 2010 and in juvenile coho salmon and several taxa of benthic macroinvertebrates in the early summer of 2010 and 2011.