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1995 BEST Data

The BEST Program is designed to identify and understand the effects of environmental contaminants on biological resources, particularly those resources under the stewardship of the Department of the Interior (DOI). BEST provides sound scientific information to be used proactively to prevent or limit contaminant-related effects on biological resources.

The primary goals of BEST are to: (1) determine the status and trends of environmental contaminants and their effects on biological resources, (2) identify, assess and predict the effects of contaminants on ecosystems and biological populations, and (3) provide summary information in a timely manner to managers and the public for guiding conservation efforts. To address these goals, BEST will use different approaches, involving a combination of field biomonitoring methods and information assessment tools, for examining contaminant issues at the national, regional, and local levels.

Fish, primarily common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), were sampled from a total of 48 stations (34 former NCBP stations, 13 NAWQA sites, and one reference site) in the Mississippi River drainage by USFWS, USGS and NBS (now USGS) personnel during August-December 1995. Together, the array of sites, analyses, and assays will provide a synoptic overview of the current distribution of a wide variety of contaminants and their effects on fish in much of the Mississippi River drainage, in addition to evaluating the feasibility and performance of using new methods together in a battery of tests.

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