Effects of burial by the disposal of dredged materials from the Columbia River on Pacific razor clams (Siliqua patula)

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Annual maintenance of the Columbia River navigation channel requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to dredge sediment from the river and dispose of the sediment in coastal areas at the mouth of the Columbia River. Some of these disposal areas can be as shallow as 12 m deep in waters off the coastal beaches, and dredged material disposal activities have therefore raised concerns of impacts to local razor clam (Siliqua patula) populations that are prevalent in the area. The Corps’ Portland District requested that the Marine Sciences Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ... continued below

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Vavrinec, John; Kohn, Nancy P.; Hall, Kathleen D. & Romano, Brett A. May 7, 2007.

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Annual maintenance of the Columbia River navigation channel requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to dredge sediment from the river and dispose of the sediment in coastal areas at the mouth of the Columbia River. Some of these disposal areas can be as shallow as 12 m deep in waters off the coastal beaches, and dredged material disposal activities have therefore raised concerns of impacts to local razor clam (Siliqua patula) populations that are prevalent in the area. The Corps’ Portland District requested that the Marine Sciences Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conduct laboratory experiments to evaluate the potential impacts of burial by dredged material to razor clams during disposal. Prior modeling of disposal events indicates three stresses that could have an impact on benthic invertebrates: convective descent and bottom encounter (compression forces due to bottom impact), dynamic collapse and spreading (surge as material washes over the bottom), and mounding (burial by material). Because the razor clam is infaunal, the effects of the first two components should be minimal, because the clams should be protected by substrate that is not eroded in the event and by the clams’ rapid digging capabilities. The mound resulting from the disposal, however, would bury any clams remaining in the footprint under as much as 12 cm of new sediment according to modeling, and the clams’ reaction to such an event and to burial is not known. Although the literature suggests that razor clams may be negatively affected by siltation and therefore perhaps by dredging and disposal activity, as well, impacts of this type have not been demonstrated. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential impacts of dredge material disposal on adult subtidal razor clam populations at the mouth of the Columbia River. Using the parameters defined in a previous model, a laboratory study was created in which a slurry was added to experimental chambers seeded with adult razor clams to produce burial mounds of various thicknesses. The laboratory results presented here have two implications for disposal operations.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-16350
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/903254 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 903254
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc880450

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  • May 7, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 23, 2016, 5:28 p.m.

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Vavrinec, John; Kohn, Nancy P.; Hall, Kathleen D. & Romano, Brett A. Effects of burial by the disposal of dredged materials from the Columbia River on Pacific razor clams (Siliqua patula), report, May 7, 2007; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc880450/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.