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San Francisco Bay Estuary Priority Ecosystem Study

View of the Sacramento River, California, at sunrise
Sacramento River, California, is the largest tributary in the San Francisco Bay watershed. USGS scientists have studied the transport of pesticides in the river to gain insight on the fate of pesticides in San Francisco Bay.

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Diverse organic and inorganic contaminants that vary widely in their environmental behavior, sources, and toxicity enter the San Francisco Bay estuary. Toxic substances enter the estuary in agricultural and urban runoff and in discharges from municipal wastewater facilities and industries. The study focuses on the movement, fate, and effect of contaminants from a variety of agricultural, industrial, and urban sources, such as pesticides and toxic trace elements, and on the effects of the highly varying hydrologic conditions in river--estuarine environments. Scientists are developing an approach to characterize the distribution of contamination and the resulting ecological effects that will be applied in similar environments elsewhere.

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