Description: Total mercury levels were measured in largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), ''sunfishes'' (Lepomis spp)., and ''catfish'' (primarily Ameiurus spp.) from 1971 to 2004 in the middle reaches of the Savannah River, which drains the coastal plain of the southeastern U.S. Mercury levels were highest in 1971 but declined over the next ten years due to the mitigation of point sources of industrial pollution. Mercury levels began to increase in the 1980s as a possible consequence of mercury inputs from tributaries and associated wetlands where mercury concentrations were significantly elevated in water and fish. Mercury levels in Savannah River fish decreased sharply in 2001-2003 coincident with a severe drought in the Savannah River basin, but returned to previous levels in 2004 with the resumption of normal precipitation. Regression models showed that mercury levels in Savannah River fish changed significantly over time and were affected by river discharge. Despite temporal changes, there was little overall difference in Savannah River fish tissue mercury levels between 1971 and 2004.
Date: January 2, 2007
Creator: Paller, M & Bill Littrell, B
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Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department