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Melanie D. Harrison, Ph.D Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) March 6, 2013 NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Region Protected Resources Division Santa Rosa, California.

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Presentation on theme: "Melanie D. Harrison, Ph.D Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) March 6, 2013 NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Region Protected Resources Division Santa Rosa, California."— Presentation transcript:

1 Melanie D. Harrison, Ph.D Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) March 6, 2013 NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Region Protected Resources Division Santa Rosa, California Science, Service, Stewardship Water Quality and Biogeochemical Processes

2 OUTLINE  Introduction  Brief overview of the water and soil chemistry in the Hanson Gravel Ponds  Important biogeochemical processes and dynamics within the Hanson Gravel Ponds:  Cycling of metals: Mercury (Hg)  Nutrient cycling: Phosphorus (P)  Thermal and dissolve oxygen stratification  Scale:  Local Drivers  Large-scale Drivers: Russian River Watershed Context Science, Service, Stewardship

3 Current Water Quality Status in the Russian River  Historical and current land use practices greatly influence water and sediment quality and quantity in the Russian River Watershed.  Gravel mining operations (legacy Hg-laden sediment)  Agricultural activities (nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur)  Urbanization  Water management: river impoundments (control the rate and supply)  Geology and topography  Water resource agencies are keenly interested in how to manage point and non-point sources of pollution to reduce human and environmental impacts.  Toxins  Biomagnify in aquatic food webs  Eutrophication  Harmful algal blooms Science, Service, Stewardship

4 Russian River : Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)  Numerous water bodies are listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act 303(d) due to several pollutants.  Establishment of numeric and/or narrative criteria to meet water quality standards to protect designated beneficial uses.  Numerous TMDLs in development by the Regional WQ Control Board  Reservoir Mercury TMDLs  Lake Sonoma, Lake Mendocino, Lake Pillsbury  Laguna de Santa Rosa Nutrients, Disslove Oxygen, Temperature TMDLs  Lower Russian River Indicator Bacteria TMDL  Russian River Watershed Sediment and Silt TMDL Science, Service, Stewardship

5 Figure 1. Map of the Russian River Watershed TMDL listings. Map courtesy of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWCQB)

6 Figure 2. Map of water and sediment sampling locations collected in August  Water and Sediment  Suite of constituents of concern (EPA protocols)  CAM metals  Organochlorine Pesticides  Organophosphorus Pesticides  Total extractable Petroleum Hydrocarbons (THP)  Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)  Volatile Organic Carbons (VOCs)  Nutrients (TN and TP)  Chlorophyll-A  Methyl-mercury (MeHg)

7 Hanson Gravel Ponds: Preliminary Data Water and Soil Quality  Methyl-mercury (MeHg) concentrations were detected in water samples, however Piombo ( µg/L) and Mariana ( µg/L) concentrations were above residential environmental screening levels (ESL) of µg/L.  In Vimark, Arsenic was reported at the residential ESL of value of 36 µg/L and above the surface water ESL for freshwater habitats of 0.14 µg/L.  In Piombo, Nickel (12 µg/L) was above the residential ESL value of 8.2 µg/L, but below the surface water ESL value for freshwater habitats.  Elevated concentrations of phosphorus (P) µg/L in the water column.  Consistent suite of metals in each pond and the Russian River, indicative of ‘backgroud’ mineral concentration of the sediments. Screening Results: Water Quality and Sediment Science, Service, Stewardship

8 Hanson Ponds: Stratification  Temperature  Thermal stratification during summer months ~15ft.  Varies across spatial and temporal scales.  Turnover typically occurs in mid-October.  Dissolve Oxygen (DO)  Rapid decline in DO  Anaerobic conditions the sediment-water interface. Science, Service, Stewardship

9 Hanson Gravel Ponds: Preliminary Data Water and Soil Quality  Higher Hg and MeHg concentrations observed in the Hanson ponds than in the Russian River sediments, soil banks, water column.  Total (Hg) concentrations were consistent with previous Hg results collected in the watershed.  Consistent suite of metals in each pond and the Russian River, indicative of ‘backgroud’ mineral concentration of the sediments. Screening Results: Russian River Science, Service, Stewardship  Sediment, bank soil, and water samples collected:  Alexander Valley Bridge  Adjacent to Syar Ponds  Adjacent to Richardson Ponds  Wolher Bride  Constituents  Organchlorines Pesticides  CAM Metals  Methyl-mercury (water column) Results

10 Important biogeochemical (internal) processes that influence water quality in the Hanson Ponds?  Essential, such as Carbon (C), Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P)  Decomposition (C) by anaerobic microbial bacteria and microorganisms  Phosphorus mineralization  Release of P occluded to sediments under Al and Fe reduction.  Trace, such as Iron (Fe), Sulfur (S)  Reduction of Fe and S by anaerobic bacteria  Toxic, such as Mercury (Hg),  Methylation of inorganic Hg(II) to methyl-mercury (MeHg) Science, Service, Stewardship

11 What are the key controllers/drivers of the biogeochemical processes in the Hanson Pond  Methyl-mercury production  Availability of Hg(II)  Microbial community  Sulfate concentrations  Carbon availability  Optimal redox condition (anaerobic conditions)  Physical  Hydrodynamics (i.e., connectivity) semi-isolated  Pond stratification  Pond structure  Sediment properties  Clay and fine grain sediments  Phosphorus mineralization  Availability of P  Vegetation  Al and Fe  Optimal redox condition (anaerobic conditions)  Periphyton community  Physical  Hydrodynamics  Pond stratification  Pond structure  Sediment properties  Clay and fine grain sediments Science, Service, Stewardship

12 Scale: What are the key temporal and spatial drivers in the Russian River Watershed Watershed Hydrology  Hydrology is a key controller of biogeochemical processing in a watershed.  Dominate transport and distribution mechanisms for constituents of concern  River discharge (controls the supply and form of pollutants during low-flow and high flow conditions)  Resuspend, remobilize, and settle pollutants in the Russian River and ponds  In stream flow augmentation: reservoirs and levees  Detention of fines (Hg) and subsequent release  Reduced connectivity between the floodplain and the river system Science, Service, Stewardship

13 Watershed Morphology  Watershed geology and topography  Spatial and temporal erosional and depositional rates  (legacy Hg and P).  Turbidity and DO Land use/Land cover  Temporal variation in discharge interacted with spatial heterogeneity in land cover to influence water quality. Climate variability  Precipitation (wet deposition  Temperature Scale: What are the key temporal and spatial drivers in the Russian River Watershed? Science, Service, Stewardship

14 Summary  Understanding water quality responses and linkage between local internal process and external drivers at the watershed scale remains important to the success of the Hanson Pond Restoration Project.  A first step is to collect high quality data that captures the range of variability in anthropogenic and natural drivers over various spatial and temporal scales.  Determine how these scales vary along physical, chemical and environmental gradients. Science, Service, Stewardship

15  North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board  Stephen Bargsten  Steve Butkus  Mark Neely  Permit Resource and Management Department: Amy Lyle  Endangered Habitat Conservancy: Michael Beck and Nancy Schaefer  NMFS: John McKeon, Brian Cluer, and Michael Donahue Thank You/Questions Science, Service, Stewardship


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