USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center Project: Ecotoxicological Studies of the Health of Cold-water Fish Populations in the Western United States

Statement of Problem: Physical and chemical alterations in aquatic habitat have adversely affected many populations of fishes in the western United States. For example, extensive dam building and development throughout the Columbia River basin has led to severely reduced populations of chinook salmon. Similarly, river and tributaries located near abandoned mine land sites receive direct effluent from adits and runoff from tailings piles that adversely affect aquatic organisms. Effects of both physical and chemical alterations to aquatic environments must be defined and understood to address issues critical to habitat restoration and population recoveries. This task focuses on issues associated with cold water fishes in the western United States and provides information on toxicological and ecological limitations to their survival and recovery.

Objectives: 1) to determine the effects of past mining practices on fish populations in rivers and streams currently receiving effluent from mine adits and runoff from tailings piles and other sources 2) to determine the effects of Coal-Bed Methane produced waters on fish and other aquatic organisms 3) to determine the potential for chromium to adversely affect chinook salmon in the Hanford reach of the Columbia River, Washington.
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