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San Francisco Bay Estuary Priority Ecosystem Study

Scientists collecting large-volume water samples from the San Joaquin River, Calif.
USGS scientists collecting large-volume water samples from the San Joaquin River, California, for analysis of pesticides in suspended sediments. Between 40 and 280 liters of water were collected in stainless steel milk cans, and the water was processed to isolate suspended sediments for analysis.

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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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